French police interview Strauss-Kahn accuser Banon

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2011 8:04 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - French police on Monday interviewed a French writer who accuses former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape in 2003, her lawyer and judicial sources said.

The meeting with 32-year-old Tristane Banon marked the first concrete step in a preliminary inquiry after the writer filed a legal complaint last week against Strauss-Kahn, who was widely expected to run for French president.

Banon's legal action followed Strauss-Kahn's mid-May arrest in New York, where he is fighting charges that he attempted to rape a hotel maid there.

That event brought his globetrotting IMF career to an abrupt halt and seemingly ended any hope of becoming president of his native country. The Banon case compounds his difficulties.

Banon filed a complaint last week over an incident that she says occurred in 2003 when she went to interview the former French finance minister in a sparsely furnished Paris apartment when she was in her early twenties.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said last week after the complaint in France was filed that he would make a counter-complaint for defamation.

The Monday police meeting is of the kind where investigators comb through and cross-check key elements such as the timing, sequence and location of the alleged events, part of a process of assessing whether a full inquiry is justified.

Banon's lawyer, David Koubbi, confirmed the question session with police on Monday morning but declined to discuss details.

(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Louise Ireland)