Strauss-Kahn in the firing line again

By Rebecca Davis 14 September 2011

It’s been a short reprieve for former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. On Monday, only days after arriving back in his homeland of France, he was on the receiving end of three hours of questioning relating to another sexual assault case. By REBECCA DAVIS.

It may be a case of travelling from the frying pan to the fire for Strauss-Kahn. Fresh from having rape charges against him in New York dropped by prosecutors, Strauss-Kahn returned to Paris to face French prosecutors investigating a rape charge dating back to 2003. In this case the accuser is writer Tristane Banon, 32, who alleges Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her while she was interviewing him eight years ago. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers claim that he requested Monday’s meeting to clear up what the French media call “DSK affaire II”. He would have been required to give an under-oath testimony as to his side of Banon’s story.

A preliminary investigation into the incident is already underway, but it is not yet known whether French prosecutors have reached a decision about how to proceed. If they decide there is sufficient evidence for a rape trial, they need to appoint a magistrate to investigate it. A frustrating alternative outcome for Banon would be if they decide there is evidence for a sexual assault, but not rape. In that event, the case will have to be dropped because under French law such a charge has to be pursued within three years of the incident taking place.

What is beyond doubt, however, is how Banon feels about Strauss-Kahn. On Sunday, she complained via text message to French news organisations that she was nauseated by his triumphal return, saying she was ashamed of the fact that France “welcomes as a hero a man who hasn’t been cleared”. DM

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