US & Canada

Dominique Strauss-Kahn lands in France

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has arrived in the French capital Paris from the US.

Mr Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at 07:05 (05:05 GMT) on board an Air France flight.

They have been in New York since his arrest in May on sex assault charges, which were dropped last month.

The 62-year-old, once seen as a possible French presidential contender, denied the allegations.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in the days after his arrest, had his passport returned last month.

Hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, who accused Mr Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his hotel room, is pressing her claims in a civil lawsuit.

Explanation

Mr Strauss-Kahn and his wife smiled and waved as they arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, but made no comment to waiting journalists and passed rapidly through the terminal to a waiting car.

They had boarded the same scheduled Saturday night Air France flight for Paris that he was about to take when he was arrested on 14 May, the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says.

The couple and their daughter were mobbed by photographers as they left their rented home in Manhattan for JFK airport on Saturday afternoon.

The case against Mr Strauss-Kahn was dropped late last month at the request of prosecutors who had concerns about Ms Diallo's credibility.

With DNA evidence indicating a sexual encounter did occur between the two in a suite at the Sofitel Hotel in May, Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers maintain it was consensual and prosecutors were unable to determine whether force had been used.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says that friends of Mr Strauss-Kahn say he does, at some point, intend to explain to the French people what happened.

Second allegation

The former IMF chief had been considered the Socialist Party's front-runner to take on French President Nicolas Sarkozy in presidential elections next year.

But his political hopes are now dead or dormant, our correspondent says. Although Mr Strauss-Kahn is legally innocent, he has been hugely damaged in the eyes of the French voters.

It is not clear if the other candidates for the Socialist nomination for next year's presidential election even want his endorsement, our correspondent adds.

He also faces another sexual assault allegation in France, after novelist Tristane Banon accused him of trying to rape her during an interview in 2003.

Ms Banon made the allegation after he was arrested in the Diallo case, saying that she feared no-one would have believed her beforehand.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's reputation has been further damaged by stories about his womanising and vast wealth.

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