HE ACCUSED her of lies, she accused him of arrogance and maintained that he tried to rape her: Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Tristane Banon met face to face in front of a judge and police officers and neither budged an inch in their stories.
Romantic fiction writer Banon later told TF1’s news programme that she thought the former president of the International Monetary Fund “would at least apologise” but he “did not” and, in fact, “did not even dare look at me”.
Banon was the first to arrive for the confrontation called by the judge investigating her claims of an attempted rape in 2003. Held at the office of the Brigade de Répression de la Délinquance à la Personne in the 13th arrondissement in Paris, reports said she looked pale and nervous as she arrived, having earlier admitted at a women’s rally she was “scared” about the face-to-face meeting.
Freshly suntanned, Strauss-Kahn arrived from a holiday in Morocco. He did not speak after the meeting and his lawyers said he had “formally denied having attacked Mme Banon and swore that she was lying as to what happened in their encounter”.
Banon has said several times that he had tried to rape her during the course of an interview in a Paris flat in February, 2003 and that she had had to fight him off, describing him as a “rutting chimpanzee”.
He had earlier admitted before being questioned by the BDPR that he had “made advances” towards the writer but later said her claims were “imaginary”.
Banon laid her complaint against Strauss-Kahn after he was accused of the attempted rape of a New York hotel maid. She said she had been scared to make such claims earlier about a powerful figure in French politics.
New York prosecutors dropped their case against Strauss-Kahn over fears for the maid Nafissatou Diallo’s reliability and she is now pursuing a civil case. Strauss-Kahn is seeking to block this, claiming diplomatic immunity as IMF president.
Prosecutors have now questioned around 20 people in the first stages of the BDPR investigation, primarily to see if there is a case to answer. These have included Socialist Party presidential hopeful François Hollande, and Strauss-Kahn’s ex-wife and daughter.
Strauss-Kahn’s wife, Anne Sinclair, has stood by him through the recent scandals, saying she “did not for a second believe the accusations against him” in New York.
A poll by Elle magazine has found that 54% of women understand why she has done so – with 26% saying they would have offered him unconditional support.
However, when asked directly if they would have supported Strauss-Kahn if they had been in her position 74% said they would not; with, again, 26% saying they would have stood by him.