x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

French Socialist Party leader to be quizzed over 2003 Strauss-Kahn rape claim

The lawyer for the writer Tristane Banon said she had told Socialist presidential hopeful Francois Hollande about the alleged rape attempt in 2003 when he was first secretary of the party, raising questions as to how much he knew and whether he should have sounded the alarm.

PARIS // The Socialist presidential hopeful, Francois Hollande, will be questioned in an inquiry into charges of attempted rape brought by a French writer against the former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, legal sources said yesterday.

The lawyer for the writer Tristane Banon said she had told the Socialist politician about the alleged incident in 2003 when he was first secretary of the party, raising questions as to how much he knew and whether he should have sounded the alarm.

The move is the latest twist in the case against Mr Strauss-Kahn, once the Socialist Party's leading candidate for a 2012 presidential election, who was arrested by New York police in mid-May on charges of attempting to rape a hotel maid.

The case has damaged the Socialist Party and threatens to poison the run-up to the presidential election next April.

The source did not say when police would question Mr Hollande, who is currently leading opinion polls for the election.

French police are questioning a number of people with links to the case in a preliminary investigation to establish whether a fully-fledged inquiry is justified.

On Monday, Mr Strauss-Kahn's daughter from his second marriage, Camille Strauss-Kahn, was interviewed. Her mother, Brigitte Guillemette, was questioned on Friday, the legal sources said.

Ms Banon filed a legal complaint at the start of July, alleging that Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her in 2003 when she went to interview him in a sparsely furnished flat in Paris.

Mr Strauss-Kahn has filed a counter-claim for defamation.