France

Strauss-Kahn's French accuser drops case for attempted rape

AFP/François Guillot/Joel Saget
2 min

French writer Tristane Banon is to drop her attempt to have former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn prosecuted, despite an earlier pledge to pursue if state prosecutors refused to do so.

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Banon, who alleges that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, told Canal+ television Wednesday that she would not ask an investigating magistrate to open a case.

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Last week French prosecutors ended their investigation into Banon's claim, deeming that it was sexual assault rather than attempted rape.

The statute of limitations on such an offence is only three years.

Under French law Banon could still have taken her complaint directly to judges and demanded they review the evidence but she will not now do so.

"Quite clearly, in the letter that the prosecutor sent me, he says that there was a sexual assault, so my status as victim is at least recognised," she said. "I remain convinced and I continue to affirm that it was an attempted rape ... you can no longer say that I'm a liar."

Banon said she would campaign for a bill extending the statute of limitations for sexual assault from three to 10 years to becomme law.

“I would have expected that he would have apologised but that would be asking this man too much, I don't think that he'll do it," she said, adding that she would advise the Socialist politician and former international finance boss “to keep a low profile” because “he's officially a sex attacker".

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers argue the prosecutor's decision to drop the case left their client "completely cleared" and supported his claim that, while he "made an advance" on Banon, he had not been violent.

Banon brought her case after New York chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape. Diallo is pressing a civil suit after prosecutors dropped the case amid doubts over her testimony.

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