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French writer to file Strauss-Kahn rape complaint

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 5 Jul 2011 03:46 GMT
Author: Reuters
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PARIS, July 4 (Reuters) - A French writer will file a legal complaint against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday alleging that he tried to rape her more than eight years ago, her lawyer told Reuters.

Lawyer David Koubbi said the complaint by Tristane Banon, 32, a journalist and author, related to an incident that took place when she went to interview Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, in an apartment in Paris.

"Tristane Banon will file a complaint on Tuesday for attempted rape in Paris," Koubbi said.

"These acts are extremely serious," he added. "These events were combined with a violence that was absolutely striking for these kinds of situations."

Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest in New York on Friday after prosecutors said they doubted the credibility of a hotel maid who alleges he tried to rape her.

A lawyer for Strauss-Kahn told Reuters he had been instructed by the former IMF head to bring a counter-action against Banon for falsely accusing him.

"The facts that she recalls are imaginary," said attorney Henri Leclerc.

Koubbi, the attorney for Banon, would not say whether the timing of her complaint was affected by the developments in New York. Until his May arrest, Strauss-Kahn was seen as the left's best chance of winning the 2012 election.

Under French law, a complaint of attempted rape can be brought up to 10 years after an alleged attack.

Koubbi had said several times in recent weeks that his client was considering taking action against Strauss-Kahn over the incident, which he said on Monday took place in early 2003, not in 2002 as had previously been reported.

Banon's mother Anne Mansouret, a Socialist councillor, has said she regrets talking her daughter out of filing a complaint at the time.

The incident first surfaced publicly in 2007, when Banon discussed it on a television talk show, with Strauss-Kahn's name bleeped out.

During the show, which has been widely circulated online in recent weeks, Banon said he had insisted on holding her hand during the interview, before making advances that led to her fighting him off as he tried to undo her clothing.

(Reporting by Gerard Bon and Pauline Mevel; Additional reporting by Alexandria Sage; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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