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Sex probe Strauss-Kahn went for me like a chimp in heat, claims journalist

By John Lichfield and David Usborne

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was like a “chimpanzee in heat”, according to a French journalist considering legal action against him for an alleged attack in 2002.

As the IMF boss and French presidential front-runner appeared in court in New York, Tristane Banon (31) said that she had not made the formal accusation before because she had been persuaded by her mother — a Socialist politician — to say nothing.

She had recounted her experiences on a French chat show in 2007, in which she had described the Socialist former finance minister as “like a chimpanzee in rut”.

But the broadcast version of the show covered each mention of Mr Strauss-Kahn's name with a beep. Ms Banon, who was 22 at the time of the alleged attack, said the politician had agreed to give her an interview for a book about political failures.

She said: “He wanted to hold my hand. Then it was my arm and then further than that.

“It all ended very badly. We scuffled on the ground. I kicked him several times. He undid my bra and he tried to pull down my jeans. I used the word ‘rape' to try to scare him but it didn't.” Mr Strauss-Kahn was denied bail yesterday because of concerns he would flee the US to avoid a trial for allegedly forcing a maid to perform sexual acts at his hotel suite.

Mr Strauss-Kahn (62), a giant of the global financial scene who was seen as a favourite to contest and possibly win next year's French presidential elections, was remanded in custody until May 20 after hearing charges that included attempted rape, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment.

The most serious count is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.


Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, has been a vital player in the effort to contain the Eurozone government debt crisis. The scandal of what did or did not happen in room 2806 of the Sofitel in Manhattan could hardly have come at a worse time. The IMF chief, who was hauled from his first-class seat on an Air France plane at JFK on Saturday by police, was to have been in Europe this week for meetings on a bailout for Portugal and managing the situation in Greece.

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