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Socialist presidential hopeful to be quizzed over Banon case

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2011-07-19

French politician François Hollande faces questioning by investigators regarding the rape charges that French writer Tristane Banon levied against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Banon claims she told Hollande of the incident in 2003.

REUTERS - Socialist presidential hopeful Francois Hollande will be questioned in an inquiry into charges of attempted rape brought by a French writer against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, legal sources said on Tuesday.

The lawyer for writer Tristane Banon said she had told the Socialist politician about the alleged incident in 2003 when he was first secretary of the party, raising questions as to how much he knew and whether he should have raised the alarm.

The move is the latest twist in the case against Strauss-Kahn, once the Socialist Party’s leading candidate for a 2012 presidential election who was arrested by New York police in mid-May on charges of attempting to rape a hotel maid.

The case has damaged the Socialist Party and threatens to poison the run-up to the presidential election next April.

“There’s nothing new. M. Hollande isn’t being targeted in particular,” the source told Reuters, confirming a report in Tuesday’s Le Figaro that the Socialist will be interviewed by investigators.

The source did not say when police would question Hollande, who is currently leading opinion polls for the election.

Banon filed a legal complaint at the start of July, alleging Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her in 2003 when she went to interview him in a sparsely furnished flat in Paris.

Legal investigators are conducting an initial inquiry into the allegations to see whether there is any justification to pursue the case.

Strauss-Kahn has filed a counter-claim for defamation.

On Monday, legal sources said police had interviewed one of Banon’s former colleagues and Strauss-Kahn’s second wife Brigitte Guillemette, who is also Banon’s godmother.

Date created : 2011-07-19

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