LONDON (Reuters) - The Guardian newspaper said on its website on Friday that former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn believes his French presidential bid was scuppered last year by "political enemies" who made sure his sexual encounter with a New York maid was made public.
It is the first time Strauss-Kahn has spoken publicly about the events surrounding a sexual encounter with a maid in a Sofitel hotel in New York last May, which put an end to his political ambitions.
The Guardian said a more than two-hour interview with Strauss-Kahn revealed that the former IMF boss was convinced his downfall had been choreographed by his political enemies.
According to the newspaper, Strauss-Kahn believes that while his opponents may not have gone so far as to set up the encounter with hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, "he believes they did play a role, through intercepted phone calls, in making sure that the hotel maid went to the police and thus turned a private tryst into a public scandal."
The paper published no direct quotes from Strauss-Kahn on his version of those events.
Strauss-Kahn had been expected to announce his candidacy for the French presidency last year.
"I planned to make my formal announcement on 15 June and I had no doubt I would be the candidate of the Socialist party," The Guardian quotes Strauss-Kahn as saying.
Those hopes crashed when he was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape and sexual assault. He resigned from the IMF days later.
Prosecutors dismissed the charges in August because of concerns about Diallo's credibility.
Strauss-Kahn has said the sexual encounter was consensual, and his lawyers have accused Diallo of financial motives.
She is now pursuing civil claims in New York. A judge is considering a motion from Strauss-Kahn's lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit because he enjoyed diplomatic immunity as head of the IMF at the time of the encounter.
The paper said that during the past months Strauss-Kahn has carried out his own investigations, aided by a private detective service.
Separately, Strauss-Kahn has been formally put under investigation in a prostitution scandal in the northern city of Lille. He declined to talk about that case with The Guardian.
The second round of the French election is set for May 6 and pits the incumbent centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy against his Socialist rival Francois Hollande.
(Reporting by Avril Ormsby; editing by Geert De Clercq)