• France's news in English

Sarkozy party denies plot to ruin Strauss-Kahn

AFP · 28 Nov 2011, 09:33

Published: 28 Nov 2011 09:33 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party on Sunday rejected as "grotesque" suggestions that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was brought down by an elaborate plot to wreck his presidential ambitions.

"This story is ridiculous ... this plot argument is grotesque," said UMP party leader Jean-Francois Cope, while Interior Minister Claude Gueant dismissed the allegations as "pure fantasy."

The remarks came after a New York Review of Books article that included hints by associates of the disgraced ex-IMF chief that his arrest on sexual assault charges in New York on May 14th might have been a set-up.

Strauss-Kahn, then tipped to beat Sarkozy in France's 2012 presidential elections, was taken off a plane to Paris by police that afternoon after maid Nafissatou Diallo said he had attacked her in a posh Manhattan hotel.

He resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund as a result of the scandal.

The charges were later dropped after prosecutors said Diallo lied about details of her allegations, but they and subsequent claims of sexual misconduct in France were enough to end Strauss-Kahn's political ambitions.

Back in September, he told French television: "A trap? It's possible. A plot? We'll see."

The author of the New York Review of Books story, Edward Epstein, told AFP on Saturday: "I didn't say it was a political conspiracy but I would say that people wanted to find evidence of an indiscretion of his that could derail either his (French presidential) candidacy or even (his work at) the IMF."

One of the politician's lawyers, William Taylor, said Strauss-Kahn may have been "the target of a deliberate effort to destroy him as a political force."

The New York Review of Books article quotes sources saying Strauss-Kahn suspected a smartphone that disappeared just before his arrest had been hacked.

It also describes camera footage showing an employee of the Sofitel hotel, where the sexual encounter was alleged to have taken place in Strauss-Kahn's room, high-fiving a colleague and appearing to perform a celebratory dance after listening to Diallo's testimony.

The article has rekindled speculation that began shortly after his arrest about a plot to undermine the Socialist politician, whose wife Anne Sinclair is a multi-millionaire art heiress and celebrity journalist.

But Interior Minister Gueant said Sunday: "I would say that it's pure fantasy."

"I read Epstein's article. What does it say? That DSK (Strauss-Kahn) lost his phone. It's not because one loses one's phone that there is a setup," he told French media.

UMP leader Cope said that "we will not fall into the trap of pursuing this story which has nothing to do with politics," adding that conspiracy theories were always abundant in the run-up to elections.

Cope said on Saturday that "to imagine that what happened to Strauss-Kahn was the object of some sort of collusion by the UMP is stretching things a lot."

The Sofitel hotel group meanwhile issued a statement on Sunday that admitted that two of its employees congratulated each other after the incident but said this was unconnected.

"The article ... affirms that two Sofitel employees were filmed by hotel surveillance cameras 'rejoicing' for three minutes," it said.

"In reality, these facts lasted eight seconds, and there is no evidence of a 'celebratory dance'," it said, adding that the two employees "categorically denied this exchange had any link whatsoever with Mr. Strauss-Kahn."

The statement did not say what the men where rejoicing over. A spokeswoman for Accor, the company that owns the Sofitel groups, told AFP she was also unable to say what the cause of the celebration was.

Epstein also wrote that hotel records showed that Diallo visited another bedroom on the same floor as Strauss-Kahn's suite, shortly before the sexual encounter took place and immediately after.

Story continues below…

Epstein asks who might have been in that room and why Diallo went there.  

Sofitel, which has not identified the room's occupant, said on Sunday that "the insinuation that the customer occupying room 2028 was involved in the incident is false and without substance."

Strauss-Kahn, who does does not deny a sexual act took place in the Sofitel suite but insists it was consensual, said on Sunday he had no comment to make on Epstein's article.

An association of Strauss-Kahn supporters, the DSK Club, said on Sunday that the Paris prosecutor's office should follow up Epstein's investigation to see if there was any truth in the conspiracy theory.

In France, Strauss-Kahn's name has been linked to a judicial investigation into a prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels in the northern French city of Lille and a string of Belgian brothels.

Strauss-Kahn has demanded he be questioned by the judges leading the inquiry, hoping to halt what his lawyers brand a "media lynching".

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2011-12-02 20:51:59 by merlu free
I don't care about all these so called investigations. I don't want DSK back in politics. He has not to fell in a trap like this, (if there was any). Apparently he is a little to much attracted by sexy women to be concentrate on his job.
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