A year after being accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid – a claim which cost him his post at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a shot at the French Presidency – Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces fresh ignominy after a French prosecutor opened a probe into allegations of rape.
Yesterday's move by the prosecutor in Lille followed a request by investigating judges earlier this month to broaden a suspected prostitution probe to examine the claims of rape in December 2010. The prosecutor's office said it was looking into the allegation that Mr Strauss-Kahn may have been involved in a rape during a sex party in a Washington hotel while he was head of the IMF.
The married 63-year-old says whatever happened was consensual, and has denied doing anything violent. He is already a target in the Lille prostitution probe and faces charges of alleged aggravated pimping. He denies those charges. He has acknowledged being involved in "libertine" activity, while saying that he was unaware of anyone being paid for sex.
The French daily Libération reported this month that two Belgian prostitutes questioned in the Lille probe described Mr Strauss-Kahn as using violence during sex at the W Hotel in Washington and forcing a sexual act on her despite her protests.
Strauss-Kahn is also facing a trial in New York over a lawsuit by a hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault in May 2011. He has countersued, filing a $1m lawsuit against the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, saying she seriously damaged his reputation.