IMF chief 'feared political opponent would pay a woman more than $1m to allege rape'
16th May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn feared that one of his political opponents would pay a woman more than $1million to say he raped her, it emerged today.
The extraordinary revelation emerged in Paris as the International Monetary Fund head remained in a New York police cell accused of launching a sex attack on a hotel maid.
A writer in the French capital has also come forward to say that the 62-year-old attempted to rape her a decade ago.
But as Strauss-Kahn faced a 15-year prison sentence - which would signify the end of his ambition to become French president next year - conspiracy theories abounded.
Liberation, the left-wing daily newspaper, published details on off-the-record comments made by Strauss-Kahn as recently as April 28th.
Discussing his plans to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy as Socialist candidate for the presidency in 2012, he said he imagined ‘a woman who had been raped in a car park and who was offered between €500,000 and €1,000,000 to make up such a story.’
Because he was the clear favourite to beat Mr Sarkozy, Strauss-Kahn feared he would be subjected to a smear campaign by the President and his Interior Minister, Glaude Gueant.
Such theories were bolstered by the fact that the first person to break the news of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was an activist in Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party – who apparently knew about the scandal before it happened.
Jonathan Pinet, a politics student, tweeted the news just before the New York Police Department made it public, although he said that he simply had a ‘friend’ working at the Sofitel where the attack was said to have happened.
The first person to re-tweet Mr Pinet was Arnaud Dassier, a spin doctor who had previously publicised details of multi-millionaire Strauss-Kahn’s luxurious lifestyle in a bid to dent his left wing credentials.
Strauss-Kahn could just as easily been set up by rivals inside the IMF, as well as by rivals within the French political establishment.
Michelle Sabban, a senior councillor for the greater Paris region and a Strauss-Kahn loyalist said: ‘I am convinced it is an international conspiracy.’
She added: ‘It's the IMF they wanted to decapitate, not so much the Socialist primary candidate.
‘It's not like him. Everyone knows that his weakness is seduction, women. That's how they got him.’
Even some of Strauss-Kahn’s rivals said they could not believe the news. ‘It is totally hallucinatory,’ said centrist Dominique Paille.
‘If it is true, this would be a historic moment, but in the negative sense, for French political life. I hope that everyone respects the presumption of innocence. I cannot manage to believe this affair.’
And Henri de Raincourt, minister for overseas co-operation in President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, added: ‘We cannot rule out the thought of a trap.’
Referring to recent allegations that Strauss-Kahn was chauffered around Paris in a Porsche and wore 20,000 plus suits, Mr De Raincourt added: ‘I note that this has happened just after the affair of the car and the suit in a short space of time.
‘I am not ruling anything out. If this turns out to have been a trap, let me tell you that it would not be to the credit of those who set it.’