French ex-president d'Estaing investigated after sex assault claims

Paris (AFP) –


French prosecutors said Monday they are opening a probe against ex-president Valery Giscard d'Estaing over allegations by a German journalist that he sexually assaulted her after an interview in 2018.

The investigation follows claims by reporter Ann-Kathrin Stracke that Giscard d'Estaing, 94, repeatedly touched her behind in his Paris office, officials told AFP.

Giscard d'Estaing, France's oldest surviving former leader, served as president from 1974 until 1981, when he lost out on re-election to Francois Mitterrand.

Stracke, 37, told AFP last week she had filed charges against the former leader, claiming he had placed his hands on her backside three times while they posed for a photograph together in December 2018, when he was 92.

"I decided to tell my story because I think that people should know that a French former president harassed me sexually after an interview," said the journalist for German public television WDR.

She took her case to Paris prosecutors on March 10 this year, backed by her employer which carried out an independent investigation into her claims.

Stracke said Monday she was pleased to hear of the decision, adding: "I am, of course, at the disposal of the French authorities in the context of this investigation."

Giscard d'Estaing's lawyer declined to comment.