The Dominique Strauss-Kahn Affair: a French Farce?
When Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF, returned to France after his release, he largely dropped below the US radar but much has happened to him in the meantime, leading to his attempting to escape the civil action brought by Nafissatou Diallo, the Sofitel’s maid in Manhattan, by suddenly claiming diplomatic immunity.
- Allegations brought of an earlier attempted rape
- DSK speaks for the first time about the Diallo affair
- DSK’s comments on the charges brought
- DSK admits to a “moral failing”
- A history of sexual adventures
- All the makings of a French farce?
Allegations brought of an earlier attempted rape
Soon after Dominique Strauss-Kahn, known to the French as DSK, returned to France, allegations were brought before the authorities by the French journalist and writer Tristane Banon that DSK had attempted to rape her in 2003. DSK has given evidence before the local Police court in Paris and is now awaiting the Prosecutor’s decision whether to pursue the criminal charges.
DSK speaks for the first time about the Diallo affair
Four months after his arrest and two weeks after his return to Paris, DSK spoke about the Diallo Affair for the first time in a 20-minute television interview on TF1’s 8 o’clock news programme on 18th Sept. In the interview, he firmly denied assaulting Nafissatou Diallo and Tristan Banon but nevertheless, somewhat inexplicably therefore, confessed to a “moral failing” that had made him miss “his appointment with the French people” (his candidacy for the French Presidency in 2012).
DSK’s comments on the charges brought
In his comments on the Diallo Affair, he refuted the claims that he had inflicted a sadistic and violent attack on Ms Diallo, stating that there was “no violence, no stress” and that there was no trace "of a scratch on her, or on him." He said he had" no intention of negotiating "in the civil action brought”. "The very existence of this civil action just shows the financial motivations behind this. " When asked, he considered that he may possibly have been the victim of a trap or of a conspiracy.
Nevertheless, the fact that a sexual act took place is not in doubt and DSK admits to having “untariffed” relations with Ms Diallo (by which presumably he means relations for which no price had been arranged in advance or which did not appear on the hotel’s list of chargeable services).
Regarding Tristane Banon’s claims that he tried to rape her after inviting her for a second, more detailed interview for an article at a quieter location, he asserts that the writer had given an "imaginative version" of their meeting. He stated that he had "respect for women" and that he "understood their reaction."
The Prosecutor’s verdict based on the parties’ respective depositions is still awaited. He can decide either to bring the case to court, drop all charges or state that the opportunity for recourse regarding the incident has expired under a statute of limitations. Ms Banon stated her own side of the affair in a video shown by Agoravox, the French on-line newspaper and more recently in an interview with TF1.
DSK admits to a “moral failing”
Despite firmly denying all charges brought by Ms Diallo and Ms Banon, DSK has nevertheless felt it necessary to admit to a “moral failing”. In his own words he describes this as “not just a weakness, but a moral failing” something of which he is not proud and has not ceased to regret. “I have paid heavily for it.” " I have lost my carefree attitude forever.”
Why he should feel it necessary to make this confession, while strenously denying the charges bought against him is unclear. Perhaps he fears further revelations?
A history of sexual adventures
Earlier revelations Following the initial release of Ms Banon’s allegations on video, on Oct 22nd 2008, Thierry Ardisson stated on RMC regarding DSK’s excesses: "Everyone knew about them. I have 14 female friends who are telling me “He tried it on with me.”
On the following day, the journalist Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette wrote in Le Point:
"The amazing Strauss-Kahn, who, throughout his career, has never ceased to come close to overstepping the mark. His antics are legendary, but almost nothing has been mentioned in the media, in acordance with French tradition. His appetite for the weaker sex has led him to take lots of risks. Several times complaints of harassment have almost be brought. This has been seen here and there in places where the most elementary caution should have kept him away. But he has always preferred his freedom, which does not make him immune from later revelations should he become a candidate or a serious opponent, in the next presidential election.”
All the makings of a French farce?
Now, with his filings for the dismissal of the civil action against him by Ms Diallo on the grounds of ‘diplomatic immunity’, DSK is, inadvertently, set to join Fernandel in the ranks of France’s greatest comic actors. In the deposition presented by his lawyers in New York, he claims that the current parlous state of the global economy is Ms Diallo’s fault for significantly impairing the IMF’s ability to serve its critical function at a time of worldwide financial crisis and instability" Essentially, he is claiming that he is too important to be sued.
If the judge turns down DSK’s petition for ‘diplomatic immunity’ – and the argument is tenuous – we can look forward to a season of grand farce as this erstwhile lion of French society and prime candidate for the Presidency, now increasingly shunned by his former political colleagues, unravels still further and his protection from the circling media sharks is breached.