Conspiracy theories rife among Parisian left

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Politicians who propound conspiracy theories about "l'affaire DSK" were advised yesterday to shut up or defend their allegations in the French courts.

The French interior minister, Claude Guéant – a close associate of President Nicolas Sarkozy – dismissed as "scandalous" remarks made by political friends of Dominique Strauss-Kahn implying that his arrest in New York in May was a "plot", a "honey-trap" or a "political assassination" organised in Paris.

Socialist politicians should "make a formal legal complaint ... or shut up", Mr Guéant said.

At the same time, the French Accor hotel group, which owns the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan where the sexual attack was alleged to have taken place, threatened legal action against anyone who suggested that the company had been involved in a plot against Mr Strauss-Kahn. A close ally of the former IMF chief said at the weekend that Accor had close links with "officines" or shadowy political groups in France.

Accor formally denied it had any such connections and said it would regard any repetition of the comments as "defamatory".

It was confirmed, however, that Accor had informed Mr Sarkozy's intelligence chief, Ange Mancini, about DSK's arrest at 11.45pm Paris time on 14 May – just an hour after he was removed from an Air France flight at JFK airport. French officials said it was standard procedure for the Élysée to be kept abreast of momentous events involving French people or interests abroad.