Strauss-Kahn buys ticket to fly back to France

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Shamed former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has bought a flight ticket to return to France on Sunday but has not decided whether to use it, members of his inner circle told AFP.

"He has a ticket on the Air France flight that arrives at Roissy on Sunday, but nothing is decided," one ally said, speaking on condition of anonymity and referring to Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.

"He might decide to take the flight, or to stay on in the United States."

A second source close to the Socialist politician -- whose trial on sex assault charges was halted last week after the prosecution case collapsed -- said the flight was due to arrive at 8.35am (0635 GMT) on Sunday.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, resigned as the International Monetary Fund's managing director in May after he was arrested and charged in May with sexual assault and with attempting to rape a hotel maid.

Last week, he walked free when a judge in New York dismissed charges against him. Prosecutors said they could not pursue the case because the accuser's lies had made it impossible to prove her accusations beyond reasonable doubt.

His apparently imminent return has caused embarrassment for his opposition party as it prepares to vote in a primary to choose a candidate to run against the incumbent French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next year.

Strauss-Kahn, a respected economist and former finance minister despite his reputation as an inveterate womaniser, had been favourite for the race, but his political career is in ruins following the case.

© 2011 AFP

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