(Updates with comments from Banon in third paragraph.)
Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the French woman who accused him of attempted rape met today at a Paris police station for face-to-face questioning on the allegations.
The two left the station in Paris’s 13th arrondissement separately after a 2 1/2-hour “confrontation,” as the meeting is called, according to images broadcast on LCI television.
Writer Tristane Banon told TF1 television after the meeting she “maintained my accusation” against Strauss-Kahn when they met and sought to “know what his arguments were” for denying wrongdoing. Strauss-Kahn didn’t comment before or after the meeting.
Banon claims Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003 when she visited him for an interview, filing her complaint in July as another attempted-rape case against the 62-year-old was unraveling in New York. Strauss-Kahn resigned his post as head of the International Monetary Fund in May to fight claims by a Manhattan hotel maid. That case was dropped in August after prosecutors said the maid’s story was unreliable. Strauss-Kahn returned to Paris earlier this month.
“I’m scared” to come face to face with Strauss-Kahn, Banon said on Sept. 24 at a Paris rally calling for stricter punishment of violence against women. “I want no money” from him, she said, and should any damages ultimately be awarded to her, she promised to give the money to charity.
Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into Banon’s claims to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to open a full investigation. Police have questioned about 20 people with whom Banon spoke or who had heard about the 2003 meeting, including her mother and Strauss-Kahn’s ex-wife and daughter. Today’s meeting should be the final step before prosecutors decide whether to close the case or continue, Agence France- Presse reported.
Strauss-Kahn called Banon’s account “imaginary” in a Sept. 18 television interview and said their 2003 meeting “didn’t involve any aggression, any violence.”
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Frederique Baulieu, Banon’s lawyer David Koubbi and a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment. The two met unaccompanied by their lawyers, AFP said.
--Editors: Christopher Scinta, Steve Rhinds
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