Ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn returns to France

Posted Sept. 04, 2011, at 9:25 p.m.

NEW YORK — Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrived back in France on Sunday, nearly four months after his arrest in New York on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

The 62-year-old former International Monetary Fund chief and his wife Anne Sinclair arrived in Paris on an Air France flight from New York at around 7 a.m. Paris time.

He did not speak to the large crowd of reporters waiting for him at Charles de Gaulle airport but waved and smiled as they passed through the terminal under a police escort.

They climbed directly into a waiting black car and sped off to their apartment in central Paris, where they were also mobbed by cameras.

The economist and his wife had to fight their way past photographers to get to the door of their apartment building.

Many people are hoping the Frenchman, who had been tipped before his arrest to win next year’s presidential elections but is no longer expected to run, will speak about the allegations made against him by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.

Prosecutors dropped the charges last month, saying that while there was evidence of a hurried sexual encounter they could not be sure if it was forced, because Diallo had discredited herself as a witness by lying about her past and changing parts of her story.

His friend, Deputy Jean-Marie Le Guen, told BFM television he would speak publicly on the affair.

“He intends to explain himself and assert the respectability of his person,” Le Guen said, adding Strauss-Kahn wanted “direct dialogue with the French.”

Until now, Strauss-Kahn has observed a strict silence on the case, except to deny the allegations and express relief after the case was dropped at the end of a “terrible and unjust ordeal.”

But his legal worries are not over yet. Diallo has lodged a civil case against him in a court in New York, seeking an unspecified amount in damages for the “violent and sadistic attack” she says she suffered when she came to clean his Sofitel hotel room on May 14.

Diallo claimed that Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex.

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