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Rival for presidency quizzed in DSK probe

French investigators have questioned a leading presidential hopeful about a writer's claim that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her.

Strauss-Kahn is also facing sexual assault charges in New York, where a hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her. Lawyers for the two women met jointly on Tuesday with prosecutors in New York. Strauss-Kahn has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

In Paris, attention turned to Francois Hollande, former head of France's Socialist Party and a poll favourite for next year's presidential race -- in which Strauss-Kahn (right) had been an expected contender before his May arrest.

Investigators are interviewing anyone who was told about the 2003 incident in which Ms Banon says Strauss-Kahn tried to tear off her clothes as she fought him off. Ms Banon's lawyer said Mr Hollande was one of those informed.

Mr Hollande turned up in Paris for questioning yesterday at the special police brigade probing the claim and left about an hour later.