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Strauss-Kahn denies 'problems with women' on CNN

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Former IMF chief and prominent French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in an interview with CNN aired Wednesday that he did not have "problems with women" following claims of sexual assault and pimping on both sides of the Atlantic.


Former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn gave an exclusive interview aired Wednesday to CNN in which he denied allegations that he had "problems with women" following claims of sexual assault, rape and pimping on both sides of the Atlantic.

The prominent Socialist politician looked likely to be a French presidential candidate when he was arrested in May 2011 after New York City hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo accused him of sexually assaulting her. The criminal charges were later dropped, but Diallo filed a subsequent civil suit that was settled out of court for an undiclosed amount, reportedly in excess of $1.5 million.

In the wake of his New York arrest, a French journalist accused him of assaulting her during a 2002 interview. Accusations of rape and pimping later emerged in a case that became known as the Carlton Affair in France, but he was never convicted.

"I don't think I have any kind of problems with women," Strauss-Kahn told CNN in his first English-language interview since he was forced to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund in the wake of the New York criminal charges.

"I certainly have a problem with understanding that what is expected from a politician of the highest level is different from what can do Mr. Smith in the street," he acknowledged, adding: "I had in mind that I had my private life, and that I could do what I want as long as nobody was hurt or some legal problem appeared."

Strauss-Kahn has long maintained that he had a sexual encounter with Diallo, but that it was consensual.

"Something happened [in the New York hotel] which is a private thing, and I still think that what happened in the room is a private thing, unless the prosecutors find something to tell you that you are going to be charged for something and they have proof of that," he said.

In the wake of his arrest, he said he was angry and confused.

"I was just understanding that something was going on that I did not control," he told CNN.

Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he is known in France, was married to journalist Anne Sinclair at the time the New York allegations surfaced but the couple later separated.

Advised to settle out of court

Strauss-Kahn said he had been willing to go to trial in the civil case brought by DIallo, but was advised by his lawyers not to do so.

"My lawyers told me, 'OK, it's gonna take four years, and it will cost you more in legal fees than you will have to pay even if you win, so you'd better pay [her] off.' So I decided to settle and go on with my life," he said.

Strauss-Kahn also criticised the US practice of allowing a suspect to be filmed in handcuffs by TV cameras before the accused ever faces trial in a so-called "perp walk", saying it violates the notion of innocent until proven guilty.

"I think it is a terrible thing, frankly..." he said. "The problem is that it's a moment where in all European, American society you are supposed to be innocent; you are supposed to be innocent until you are convicted."

He said the practise treats the accused "as if you were a criminal – at the moment where nobody knows if it is true or not".

(FRANCE 24 with wires)


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