New sex claims stir up Strauss-Kahn scandal

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The scandal over attempted rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn deepened Wednesday after the mother of one of his accusers revealed she had herself previously had sex with him.

Anne Mansouret, an elected official in Strauss-Kahn's Socialist party, was quoted by several French media talking of a sexual encounter with him in 2000 in an office of the OECD economic body where he worked at the time.

It was first reported by weekly news magazine L'Express, which said she declared it last week during questioning by detectives investigating accusations of attempted rape brought by Mansouret's daughter, Tristan Banon.

Mansouret, 65, confirmed in Wednesday's edition of the daily Liberation there was an incident in the OECD office but declined to give details and said it had only happened once.

Banon accuses Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in 2003 as she tried to interview him for a book. Mansouret has admitted she discouraged her daughter from bringing charges for fear Banon's journalism career would suffer.

Strauss-Kahn has dismissed the alleged attack as "imaginary".

He is in New York pending charges of sexually assaulting and trying to rape a hotel maid there. Prosecutors have admitted doubts about his accuser in that case, raising the prospect that the charges could be dropped.

But the New York case has already derailed the electoral hopes of Strauss-Kahn, previously favourite to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election.

Picking through the web of Banon's family and media ties meanwhile, police have questioned Strauss-Kahn's daughter Camille and her mother, his ex-wife Brigitte Guillemette, who is Banon's godmother and a friend of Mansouret.

French detectives are also expected to question celebrity news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvour -- an acquaintance of Banon -- and Francois Hollande, a top candidate for the opposition Socialists' nomination to run for president.

Mansouret and Banon have said Hollande knew of her claims at the time of the alleged attack but he has denied having any detailed knowledge of it.

"I will not accept that an affair which is nothing to do with me or the Socialist Party, be manipulated for political ends," Hollande said late Friday. "I ask for this to stop. That's enough!"

© 2011 AFP

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