News / Europe

Former IMF Chief Faces New Sexual Assault Charge

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss Kahn (file photo)
Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss Kahn (file photo)

As France's Christine Lagarde starts her job as the International Monetary Fund's first female boss, her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces new sexual assault charges in Paris. Strauss-Kahn plans on filing a countersuit.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's new accuser is very different from the New York hotel maid who has reportedly offered questionable testimony in a sexual assault case against the former International Monetary Fund chief.

Thirty-two-year old Tristane Banon is a French author.  Her mother is a prominent member of the French Socialist party and once reportedly close to the Strauss-Kahn family.  Banon claims Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her when she interviewed him in 2002.

Banon's lawyer David Koubbi made it clear in interviews on French radio that the French and New York case were completely separate.  He said he was not collaborating with the American justice system.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said they will file a criminal complaint for slander against Banon should she press charges.

The latest accusation deals a blow to Strauss-Kahn, whose fortunes appeared on the rise amid reports the New York sexual assault case against him was  introuble.  In France, some members of his opposition Socialist Party, like party chief Martine Aubrey, raised speculation Strauss-Kahn might even run for the French presidency next year, if he is cleared.

Aubrey told French radio that should Strauss-Kahn decide to become a candidate, nobody would force a calendar on him.

Analyst Nicole Bacharan, of the Foundation of Political Sciences in Paris, said there is an outside possibility that the former IMF chief could still return to political life.

"One way would be to look at it as an innocent man who went through a terrible ordeal, who suffered political damage unknown at least in recent history and he could have the aura of some martyr and come back from the dead.  Some amazing political story to tell and he could make a comeback," Bacharan said.

But it may be that the French are fed up, and the traditional line here between the public and private lives of elected officials has been erased.  Besides the Strauss-Kahn case, two other political scandals have hit the news in recent weeks.

American University of Paris Political Science Professor Steven Ekovic:

"It seems to me this was the scandal that just went too far, and the French are asking themselves now about the behaviour of their politicians and political figures," Ekovich said.

Banon's mother says she now regrets having previously told her daughter to stay silent about Strauss-Kahn's alleged rape attempt.  Experts say that any legal process against him in France could take years.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs