Wednesday 29 March 2017

French TV star quizzed over Strauss-Kahn

A writer claims that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her eight years ago (AP)
A writer claims that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her eight years ago (AP)

A French TV personality has become the latest high-profile figure to face questioning by investigators examining a writer's claims that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her eight years ago.

The new round of questioning came as a New York hotel maid spoke out publicly for the first time about separate accusations that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her.

Strauss-Kahn has denied wrongdoing in both cases, but the claims have devastated the ambitions of a man who ran the International Monetary Fund and was considered a leading contender for France's presidency.

Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, a long-time anchor of France's national evening news, was questioned in Paris on Monday, a judicial official said.

French writer Tristane Banon says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003 during an interview for a book. French media have reported that Banon told investigators that she told Poivre d'Arvor and several other people about the incident.

Banon did not file a legal complaint about the alleged attack until this month - just as doubts surfaced about the New York case against Strauss-Kahn.

In the French case, investigators are trying to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue charges of attempted rape. They have questioned Banon, her mother, Strauss-Kahn's youngest daughter and second wife, and members of the Socialist Party.

Strauss-Kahn is a prominent Socialist. After his arrest in New York in May, reports emerged that people in the party and France's media had been aware of his 2003 encounter with Banon, but had not pursued it.

That prompted soul-searching about long-held French traditions of not prying into politicians' private lives, and about whether the French should be asking more questions about the behaviour of a leading presidential hopeful.

Socialist lawmaker Aurelie Filippetti, who was questioned by French investigators last week, said she knew about the 2003 incident and urged Banon to file a complaint - unlike Ms Banon's own mother, a regional Socialist official who argued against going to the police.

Press Association

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