Paris opens Strauss-Kahn rape investigation

The Paris prosecutor's office said it has opened a preliminary investigation into accusations by a French writer that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her.

The probe comes just as New York prosecutors are weighing whether or not to go ahead with a case in which a chambermaid accused Strauss-Kahn — long considered a top contender for France's presidency — of sexual assault. Questions have surfaced about the maid's credibility, throwing the high-profile case into disarray.



Back in France, novelist and journalist Tristane Banon filed a criminal complaint this week saying that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in an empty apartment in 2003 during an interview for a book project, struggling with her on the floor as he tried to tear off her clothes.



An official in the Paris prosecutor's office said today that a preliminary investigation has been opened into the complaint. The official was not authorized to be publicly named because the investigation is under way.



The probe allows investigators from a special police brigade to question Banon and those close to her about the eight-year-old incident.



It could also allow French investigators to question Strauss-Kahn, though most likely not unless and until he returns to France. New York authorities have kept his passport pending a decision on what happens in the case there.



Strauss-Kahn quit as head of the International Monetary Fund after he was arrested in New York in May based on accusations of assault made by a hotel maid. Strauss-Kahn denies wrongdoing, and last week, he was released without bail after prosecutors said publicly that the maid has a history of lying.



Questions have also surfaced about the viability of the French accusation against Strauss-Kahn.



Banon made no official report of being victimized after the alleged attack, and Banon's lawyer has not described any physical evidence that could be brought against Strauss-Kahn.



Banon has acknowledged the difficulty of proving her case, saying she took action to deal with the trauma of the alleged incident and to refute those who say she's been lying.



She said in an interview with the magazine L'Express that Strauss-Kahn grabbed her hand and arm before the two fell to the floor of his apartment and fought for several minutes, with the politician trying to open her jeans and bra and putting his fingers in her mouth and underwear.



Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have called the incident "imaginary" and threatened to file a criminal complaint accusing Banon of slander.



After the preliminary probe into her claim, which could take weeks or months, the Paris prosecutor's office could decide to drop the case or pursue the investigation, which could eventually lead to a trial.



The probe will help prosecutors determine whether her allegations support a charge of attempted rape, rather than the less serious crime of sexual assault. Under French law, sexual assault is an attack that does not involve an attempt to penetrate the victim. It has a three-year statute of limitations — meaning the 2003 incident would be to old to prosecute — compared with 10 for attempted rape.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Relationship Assistant / Business Support

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you willing to give fantastic Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Assistant Document Controller

£11000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Greenwich based firm of Archite...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum