SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

DSK and Banon go face to face at police station

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had a two-hour face-to-face confrontation at a Paris police station on Thursday with the French writer who accuses him of a 2003 rape attempt.

Nothing immediately emerged of what happened during the encounter between Tristane Banon and Strauss-Kahn, which took place without lawyers present although police were there.

Banon, 32, and Strauss-Kahn, 62, left the police station without making any comment to a mass of waiting journalists.

Police are probing Banon’s allegation that the former French presidential hopeful locked her in a bare Paris flat in 2003 and assaulted her, with prosecutors then to decide whether to press charges.

Such an encounter is common in French justice when two people in a case give different versions of events.

The meeting could bring investigations to a close, after which the prosecutor could decide that there’s no case, or that the alleged crime happened too long ago or that a prosecution is warranted.

Banon’s complaint is for attempted rape rather than sexual assault or harassment, and if the prosecutor decides to downgrade the charge Strauss-Kahn would be protected by a statute of limitations on the lesser crimes.

Police have already interviewed around 20 witnesses in the case, including Socialist leader and presidential hopeful Francois Hollande.

Banon first made her allegations public on television in 2007, but only brought them to magistrates after a chambermaid at an upscale New York hotel accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault in May.

The New York prosecutor’s case collapsed last month after doubts emerged over the credibility of his accuser, Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo, who is still seeking damages from a US civil court.

Banon, who said on Saturday that she was afraid of meeting Strauss-Kahn, accuses Strauss-Kahn of wrestling with her “like a rutting chimpanzee” after luring her into an unfurnished Paris flat on the pretext of offering her an interview for a book she was writing.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has admitted making “an advance” on Banon, but denies any use of violence and has lodged a lawsuit for slander against the writer over her claim.

She has said that she will bring a civil suit if there is no criminal prosecution.

Banon told a television interviewer last week that she was keen to confront her alleged abuser in front of police.

“I want him in front of me so he can look into my eyes and say to my face that I imagined it,” Banon said in the interview.

Speaking at a rally organised by women’s rights groups and attended by around 100 supporters on Saturday, Banon said she hoped her allegations would ultimately be assessed by a court.

“I am quite happy to see that justice is following its course,” she said.

Strauss-Kahn is trying to get the New York civil case dismissed, claiming diplomatic immunity despite having already stood down from the International Monetary Fund when Diallo brought her case in August.

Strauss-Kahn has accused Diallo of imperilling his efforts, at the helm of the IMF, to rescue the world economy at a crucial time after the financial crisis.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLITICS

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday made a partial apology for chaos at last month's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris, while insisting fake tickets and "delinquency" were mostly to blame.

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

“Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France (stadium)? The answer is yes. Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told RTL radio.

“Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event,” he added.

After scenes of fans crowded into tight spaces and being tear-gassed by police caused outrage around Europe, Darmanin poured fuel on the fire by blaming supporters with fake tickets for the disruption.

UEFA events director Martin Kallen last week told French senators investigating the fiasco that the football body’s count of fake tickets was far short of the tens of thousands claimed by French authorities.

“We don’t believe it’s the number mentioned in France,” he said, adding that 2,600 fake tickets were identified at turnstiles — compared with the number of 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets and without tickets suggested by Darmanin.

“It was a question of fake tickets… that created the difficulties we all know about” of large crowds of fans packed into underpasses or outside locked gates, Darmanin insisted Tuesday.

He added that “if there was something that went wrong at the Stade de France, it was the fight against delinquency”, saying he had already ordered a reorganisation of policing around the venue and that three major matches since had passed without incident.

While some supporters did report being victims of crime by gangs of youths before and after the match, there were also many complaints about police treatment of fans.

Disabled Liverpool fans last week told the Senate how officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs.

The English supporters have reacted with particular fury to Darmanin’s defence of the French police’s actions.

“People’s memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organisation and heavy-handed policing, and then of course the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence,” Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram told AFP earlier this month.

CCTV footage from around the stadium has also been deleted despite the Senate probe.

A government report published earlier this month said a “chain of failures” by French authorities has inflicted “severe damage” on the image of the country as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2024.

SHOW COMMENTS