French police begin investigating second Strauss-Kahn case | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.07.2011
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French police begin investigating second Strauss-Kahn case

Paris prosecutors have opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape a French writer eight years ago.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn in court in New York

The allegations against Strauss-Kahn date from 2003

The Paris prosecutor's office said on Friday it has opened a preliminary inquiry into a complaint filed by a French writer alleging attempted rape by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Thirty-two-year-old writer Tristane Banon alleges the attack took place when she went to interview Strauss-Kahn in an otherwise empty apartment in 2003.

Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, filed the complaint earlier this week and claims there is "physical" evidence.

Under French law, sexual assault charges must be filed within three years but attempted rape charges can be brought as long as 10 years after the alleged attack.

Tristane Banon

Writer Tristane Banon has previously made the allegations on television

Second allegations

Strauss-Kahn is on trial in the United States on separate charges of sexual assault and attempted rape against a New York hotel maid.

He has pleaded not guilty and was recently released from house arrest in New York after the case against him weakened. New York prosecutors questioned the credibility of the victim, and it looks likely the case will collapse.

The former IMF chief is a heavyweight political figure within the opposition Socialist party and was a strong favorite to run against current President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.

His arrest in May threw his political future into question, and although freed from house arrest, he now has two sets of charges to answer.

Henri Leclerc, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, told Reuters earlier this week that he would bring a counter-claim against Banon for defamation, calling her version of events "imaginary."

In France, attempted rape is punishable by a sentence of 15 years, while in New York Strauss-Kahn faces a total of seven related charges, some carrying penalties of up to 25 years in jail.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dpa, Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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