• France's news in English

French prosecutors probe DSK rape claim

AFP · 8 Jul 2011, 11:32

Published: 08 Jul 2011 11:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jul 2011 11:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French prosecutors began Friday a preliminary inquiry into an allegation by a young writer that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, judicial sources said.

Police detectives have been assigned to investigate a complaint lodged by 32-year-old Tristane Banon that Socialist politician Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in a Paris flat as she attempted to interview him for a book she was writing.

Strauss-Kahn is on trial in the United States on separate charges that on May 14 he sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a New York hotel maid, but prosecutors there have admitted to doubts over the alleged victim's testimony.

The 62-year-old economist pleaded not guilty in New York and dismissed the alleged Paris attack as "imaginary". His lawyers are planning to sue Banon for defamation over the allegation, which she first made on television in 2007.

But Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, insists her complaint is not simply a "her word versus his" dispute, but is backed by supporting evidence.

"We have material elements. Text messages were sent and there is testimony. Several people are at the disposal of the judiciary to bear witness," he said this week, after filing the complaint with state prosecutors.

In France, attempted rape is punishable by a sentence of 15 years, while in New York Strauss-Kahn faces a total of seven related charges including sexual assault, some of them carrying penalties of up to 25 years in jail.

For the French case to come to trial, prosecutors must conclude they have enough evidence to ask an investigating magistrate to indict the suspect, eight years after the alleged attack.

Until May's allegations in New York, Strauss-Kahn was one of the most powerful men in world financial governance and considered the frontrunner for the French opposition Socialists' presidential primary.

Although yet to formally join the race, polls showed him on course to defeat France's centre-right incumbent, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in next April's vote and to assume one of the world's most powerful executive posts.

Reported inconsistencies in the New York maid's evidence have made it likely that the US case will eventually collapse, observers say, but Strauss-Kahn is no longer thought likely to seek his party's nomination.

Story continues below…

And if he does return to France, he will now face a lengthy second inquiry into the alleged 2003 incident.

A French court meanwhile on Friday delayed its ruling on whether the new head of the IMF, former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, will face a criminal probe over her handling of a tycoon's lawsuit.

The Court of Justice of the Republic, which is charged with deciding whether ministers can be investigated over alleged offences committed in office, said it had pushed back its much-anticipated decision until August 4.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available