Journalist will accuse DSK of attempted rape

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The Independent Online

In a new twist to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn saga, a young French journalist and writer will today accuse the former IMF chief of attempting to rape her nine years ago.

Five days after bail conditions for the former French presidential front-runner, pictured, were relaxed in New York, Tristane Banon, 31, will bring a formal complaint in Paris that Mr Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her during an interview for a book in 2002.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said the incident was "imaginary" and he would sue the woman for defamation.

Ms Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, announced that his client would deliver a formal accusation of attempted rape to the French state prosecution service. He insisted the decision was not influenced by the doubts voiced in New York about the credibility of the chambermaid who accused Mr Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her on 14 May.

Ms Banon is the goddaughter of Mr Strauss-Kahn's second wife and daughter of a socialist party councillor in Normandy. At the time of the alleged attack, she was 22. She came forward after Mr Strauss-Khan's arrest in New York but then withdrew, saying she did not want to be "exploited" by the US justice system.

She first recounted her alleged experiences on a French TV chat show in 2007. "He wanted to hold my hand and said: 'I can't go on unless you hold my hand'. Then it was my arm and then further than that," she said on the show. "It all ended very badly... very, very violently. We scuffled on the ground. I kicked him several times. He undid my bra and he tried to pull down my jeans. As we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to try to scare him but it didn't scare him."

Later, she said Mr Strauss-Kahn sent her a text message which read: "So, I scare you, do I?" She was persuaded by her mother not to press charges.

Under French law, accusations of attempted rape can be made up to 10 years after the alleged incident.