Strauss-Khan Hints Sarkozy Orchestrated New York Sex Scandal
The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has accused political enemies linked to Nicolas Sarkozy and his ruling UMP party of destroying his bid for the French presidency by choreographing the sex scandal that erupted last year.
In an interview published by The Guardian, Strauss-Kahn, who was accused of assaulting a New York hotel maid, stated that he believes the highly public undoing that followed his encounter with the housekeeper in the Sofitel hotel's presidential suite, and his imprisonment on charges of attempted rape, were orchestrated by his political opponents.
While he does not believe the incident with Nafissatou Diallo was a setup, he said the subsequent escalation of the events on 14 May into a criminal investigation that destroyed his chances of winning the presidency had been "shaped by those with a political agenda" and that "more was involved here than mere coincidence".
Strauss-Kahn, 63, alleges that he was put under surveillance by French intelligence weeks before he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting Diallo. He accuses operatives linked to Sarkozy of intercepting phone calls and making sure Diallo went to the New York police, thus sparking an international scandal.
"Perhaps I was politically naive, but I simply did not believe that they would go that far ... I didn't think they could find anything that could stop me," Strauss-Kahn said.
Strauss-Kahn's accusations come at a highly sensitive moment in French politics, days before the final round of the presidential election, which until his downfall last year he had been tipped to win.
The vote will be held on 6 May, with polls showing the Socialist Francois Hollande beating the rightwing incumbent Sarkozy.
At the time of his arrest on 14 May last year, Strauss-Kahn was polling ahead of Hollande for the Socialist nomination, for which he planned to declare the following month, and was in the lead against Sarkozy for the presidency itself. He had no doubts that he would take occupancy of the Elys?e Palace.
Strauss-Kahn's allegations are based on his own studies over the past 11 months – aided by a private detective service, Guidepost Solutions – of the Sofitel's CCTV footage, electronic key card and mobile phone records. The intensity of his research shows the extent of his belief that he was the victim of dirty tricks – though his critics would dismiss it as paranoia.
Strauss-Kahn remains in considerable difficulty over his sexual history. All charges against him were dropped by New York prosecutors in August 2011 after they found Diallo to be an unreliable witness, and he has consistently portrayed the encounter with her as consensual.
But Diallo continues to press her claim for damages in the civil courts, alleging that she was attacked by him as she went about her housekeeping duties. A judge in Manhattan is due to rule on Tuesday on whether or not Strauss-Kahn can claim diplomatic immunity in the case.
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