Strauss-Kahn still faces sex crime allegations in France

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Despite the collapse of his attempted rape case in New York on Monday, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn could still face further sexual assault charges when he returns to France.

In one case, 32-year-old writer Tristane Banon has filed a complaint alleging the 62-year-old Socialist politician and former presidential challenger tried to rape her after luring her to a Paris flat in 2003.

He denies the claim, and she may have difficulty convincing prosecutors to pursue the case so long after the alleged incident, but the magistrates are looking into the case and it may not be resolved for months or years.

Prosecutors have no fixed time frame to decide whether to press charges, but Paris police have interviewed Banon as a witness and might decide to question Strauss-Kahn if and when he decides to return from the United States.

In a separate action, Strauss-Kahn has announced his intention to sue Banon for defamation, alleging she invented the story to help publicise her writing.

Meanwhile, his New York accuser 32-year-old Nafissatou Diallo -- a maid who still insists he sexually assaulted her and tried to rape her on May 14 in his hotel suite -- could try to bring charges in France.

The French criminal codes states that its statutes are "applicable to all crimes committed by a French citizen outside the territory of the republic."

Thus far, no complaint has been lodged in France, but Diallo's legal team recruited a French counsel, Thibault de Montbrial, in June to liaise with French authorities and search for more alleged victims.

One of Diallo's US attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, is to give a news conference in Paris on Tuesday. It is not known what he will announce, but Diallo is thought to be considering a civil action for damages against Strauss-Kahn.

Other legal complications await Strauss-Kahn on his return.

De Montbrial announced plans Monday to file a complaint against one of his political allies, an elected official in his electoral fief of Sarcelles, outside Paris, for allegedly trying to suborn a witness.

The lawyer alleged that Strauss-Kahn's ally pressured a woman with whom he had had an affair to prevent her from testifying in the US case.


© 2011 AFP

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