Strauss-Kahn questioned over Paris rape allegation


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The Independent Online

The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was questioned by police in Paris yesterday about allegations by a young French writer that he tried to rape her in 2003.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said he had requested the meeting to try to "put an end" to the so-called "DSK affaire II", eight days after he returned to France following the collapse of rape charges against him in New York.

Tristane Banon, the god-daughter of DSK's second wife, says the former French Finance Minister tried to rape her when she interviewed him alone in a Paris flat in 2003. She made no official complaint at the time but decided to come forward after Mr Strauss-Kahn was accused in May of attempting to rape a hotel chambermaid in New York.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who rejects the allegations as "imaginary", was interrogated for three hours yesterday by a unit that specialises in investigating sexual violence, the Brigade de répression de la délinquance contre la personne (BRDP). The meeting was said to be the last piece in the jigsaw of the French police investigations, which have included interviews with several senior political and media figures who spoke to Ms Banon at the time of the alleged attack.

The French prosecution service now has three options: it could decide there is no case to answer; it could decide that there is prima facie evidence of attempted rape and appoint an examining magistrate to pursue the investigation; or it could decide that there is evidence of a lesser sexual assault and drop the case because such an offence must be prosecuted under French law within three years.

During the New York investigation, Mr Strauss-Kahn asserted his right to silence and never gave his version of events. No such right exists in France. He would have been asked yesterday to give a full account, on oath, of what he says happened during his meeting with Ms Banon in an empty flat in 2003.

Ms Banon says DSK behaved "like a chimpanzee in rut". "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."

On Sunday, Ms Banon sent a text message to several French news organisations complaining that DSK had been welcomed home as a "hero".