DSK returns to spotlight – in South Sudan

Since being caught up in a global sex scandal in 2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn has tried to lay low but on Monday he appeared to face the media, not in Paris, New York or Lille, but in South Sudan where he opened a bank account.

DSK returns to spotlight - in South Sudan
DSK makes his return to spotlight in South Sudan. File photo: AFP

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrived in South Sudan Monday to open a bank, a rare public return to the financial world since a dramatic fall from grace after a sex
scandal two years ago.

"I believe that a country like South Sudan deserves some special attention," he told reporters at the airport after his arrival, saying he would open a new bank, named as the National Credit Bank (NCB), as well as assess the investment opportunities in the impoverished country.

"It is a new country and still with a lot of economic and political problems….it wants to have the full opportunity for development and business," Strauss-Kahn said at the start of a two-day visit.

Little is known about the NCB bank, although officials said it is a Swiss-backed private venture launched in cooperation with South Sudanese partners.

Straus-Kahn was greeted at the airport by South Sudan's Minister of Commerce Garang Diing.

"This visit is very important to us… especially in relation to investment attraction to South Sudan," Diing said.

"He wants to see how South Sudan is prospering in terms of peace, stability, democracy and economic performance," Diing added.

The one-time French presidential hopeful and former head of the International Monetary Fund, Strauss-Kahn resigned from his post after New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo accused him of sexual assault in May 2011.

In August 2011, prosecutors dropped criminal charges, declaring that Diallo was not a credible witness.

Strauss-Kahn quickly returned to France even though the maid maintained a civil suit, later settled after Strauss-Kahn agreed a financial settlement.

Oil-rich but grossly under-developed South Sudan is the world's youngest country, after splitting from former civil war foes north Sudan in July 2011, following an overwhelming vote for independence six months earlier.

Development since independence has been stalled after South Sudan closed down the oil production that accounted for 98 percent of government revenue last year in a furious dispute with Sudan, only resuming production last month.

Rebellion, ethnic conflict and hunger affect large parts of the country, left in ruins by nearly five decades of civil war.

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France to strip Hollywood’s Weinstein of Legion d’Honneur award

France will strip disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of the prestigious Legion d'Honneur, President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday.

France to strip Hollywood's Weinstein of Legion d'Honneur award
Harvey Weinstein after receiving the Legion d'Honneur in 2012. Photo: AFP
“I have taken steps to revoke the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour)” from Weinstein — accused by several women of sexual harassment, groping and rape — Macron said in a televised interview.
Weinstein was made a knight of the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest award, in 2012 in recognition of the efforts by Miramax, the company he founded with his  brother Bob, to boost foreign films in the United States.
On Thursday, Florence Darel, 49, became the fourth French actress to claim she had been harassed by Weinstein.
Bond star Lea Seydoux had earlier written her own account of her run-ins with Weinstein and others in an industry that she said turned a blind eye to abuse.
Two other French actresses, Judith Godreche and Emma de Caunes, also said they had also suffered at his hands.