(Adds background to complaint from third paragraph, response by Strauss-Kahn lawyers.)
July 5 (Bloomberg) -- A French novelist filed an attempted rape complaint against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, saying the former International Monetary Fund chief assaulted her in 2003 when she tried to interview him.
The criminal complaint was mailed to the Paris prosecutor today, said David Koubbi, a lawyer for Tristane Banon, the writer.
“We are waiting from news from the prosecutor,” Koubbi said in an interview today.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, stepped down from the IMF after being charged with sexually assaulting a maid at a New York hotel in May. He was released from home confinement and had his bail returned as local prosecutors uncovered evidence the 32-year-old woman had lied about key aspects of her life.
Banon’s allegations are “imaginary” and her “complaint arises quite opportunistically,” given that “the deceitful nature of the accusations he faces in the U.S. is no longer in any doubt,” according to an e-mailed statement from Strauss- Kahn’s French lawyers, Frederique Baulieu and Henri Leclerc. They are preparing a slander complaint against Banon at Strauss- Kahn’s request, they said.
Banon said on a 2007 French television program that she was assaulted by Strauss-Kahn, whose name was censored when the program aired, while she tried to interview him for a book. She said he picked the location and when she arrived, began groping her and trying to remove her bra. She fought him off with “kicks and punches,” according to an unedited video of the show on Atlantico.fr, a French news website.
Banon said in an interview with L’Express magazine published today that “it made me sick seeing Strauss-Kahn free, dining in a luxury restaurant with friends.”
Kenneth Thompson, a lawyer for the maid, was interviewed by iTele television and said that he believed Banon was telling the truth.
She told L’Express that she and Koubbi had been working on the complaint since May 15, when Strauss-Kahn was charged with attempted rape in New York, and decided to go forward with the filing in mid-June, saying it wasn’t linked to the unraveling of the New York prosecution. She didn’t act until now because people including her mother and current Socialist Party presidential candidate Francois Hollande discouraged her from pursuing prosecution in 2003, she told the magazine.
Attempted rape claims face a 10-year statute of limitation under French law.
Thibault de Montbrial, a lawyer for Strauss-Kahn’s New York accuser, declined to comment on the complaint. He was hired by her U.S. lawyer to look for possible victims of Strauss-Kahn in France, he said last month.
--Editors: Anthony Aarons, Peter Chapman
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