Strauss-Kahn: Air France denies special crew rules

4th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Air France Thursday denied issuing instructions on the composition of its air crews after a report said only males were allowed serve Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the ex-IMF boss accused of attempted rape.

"Air France formally denies having given any instruction about the composition of its crews," a spokesman for the airline said.

Le Parisien newspaper said lawyers of Strauss-Kahn's accuser received an anonymous letter saying Air France issued orders that only males should work in the first class area of its jets when Strauss-Kahn travelled.

The letter reportedly stated that Air France had received numerous complaints from customers and crew members about Strauss-Kahn.

"Consequently, it was decided that only male employees be affected to the first class lounge when this client is travelling," the paper quoted the letter as saying.

The lawyers for the New York hotel maid accusing the ex-IMF boss -- Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor -- were not immediately available for comment on Le Parisien's report.

The daily also said that the lawyers acting for the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, were calling for testimony from Air France female stewards who allegedly suffered inappropriate behaviour by the ex-International Monetary Fund chief.

It said they had already received at least two testimonies from air crew who had been importuned.

Le Parisien quoted the lawyers as saying that "this inexplicable mindset which enables him to abuse women is further proof which gives credibility to the aggression suffered by Ms Diallo on May 14."

But representatives of several unions at the airline told AFP that their members had not reported any misbehaviour by the IMF boss, who was a frequent traveller on Air France jets between the United States and Europe.

"I was never made aware of any inappropriate behaviour" by Strauss-Kahn, said Didier Foussat, secretary-general of the SNPNC union.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, a veteran French politician, has denied seven charges brought by the Guinean maid of attempted rape and sexual assault in his luxury Sofitel hotel suite in Manhattan on May 14.

Thompson has warned of a civil suit even if Strauss-Kahn escapes criminal trial. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers accuse the maid of seeking to profit from such a suit.

A Frenchwoman claiming to be an ex-lover of Strauss-Kahn said last week she would testify in the scandal over attempted rape charges against him if asked.

Another Frenchwoman, the writer Tristane Banon, 32, has brought legal action against him alleging that he tried to rape her in Paris in 2003.

© 2011 AFP

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