France

Inquiry opens into French writer's allegations against Strauss-Kahn

Reuters/Allan Tannenbaum

French prosecutors have opened a preliminary inquiry into an allegation by a young writer, 32-year-old Tristane Banon, that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in a Paris flat as she attempted to conduct an interview with him. 

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Supporters of Strauss-Kahn say Banon has been manipulated by members of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party in an attempt to discredit the man who was seen as a serious contender to Sarkozy in next year’s presidential election.

Banon is a member of a local council for social and economic affairs, the CESL, in the town of Boulogne-Billancourt to the west of Paris. The town is administered by a coalition between Sarkozy’s UMP and the New Centre party.

French weekly magazine,Le Point, suggests a deal was made with Banon for her to be elected to a seat on the council.

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn say they are interested in Banon’s links to the CESL and have contacted an elected official of the town to verify information relating to her election.

Questions have also been raised over Banon’s connections with an internet site, Atlantico, which a Strauss-Kahn supporter describes as “very close to Monsieur Sarkozy”. Jean-Marie Le Guen has gone one step further and denounced a “trash campaign” led by the president against the Socialist politician.

The accusations come as Strauss-Kahn faces separate charges in the US that he sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a New York hotel maid on 14 May.

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