DSK to pay $6m to hotel maid
Former Inernational Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has reached a preliminary agreement worth a reported $6 million (€4.6 million) with the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault last year in settlement of a civil lawsuit she brought against him, sources familiar with the case said.
A source in New York cautioned that the agreement could still fall apart, but influential French daily Le Monde reported - citing people close to Mr Strauss-Kahn - that the parties had agreed on the payment to settle the case.
Le Monde said Mr Strauss-Kahn (63) and the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, would meet a judge in New York on December 7th to sign the deal and close an affair that ended the Frenchman's IMF career and wrecked his presidential ambitions.
"The discussions have been going on for weeks, months. The agreement should be confirmed at the start of next week," Michele Saban, a friend of Mr Strauss-Kahn who saw him recently, told Reuters in Paris. She could not confirm the sum involved.
"We are moving towards the end of a tragedy," she said, adding that Ms Diallo had always been open to negotiating a settlement, despite reticence on the part of her lawyers.
Le Monde reported that Mr Strauss-Kahn planned to take out a bank loan for $3 million and would be lent the other $3 million by his wife Anne Sinclair, despite the fact the couple separated in the summer and now live on different sides of Paris.
The New York Times, which first reported the development, said the pair would appear before a judge in New York next week. It said the settlement sum could not be determined.
News of the deal comes as Mr Strauss-Kahn awaits a decision by a French court on December 19th on whether to call off a sex offence inquiry involving parties attended by prostitutes, a case in which he could face a charge of "aggravated pimping".
If the case is dropped and Ms Diallo ends her civil case, Mr Strauss-Kahn would have a freer rein to pursue his consultancy work and could even consider a tentative return to public life in France, where he has been shunned since the Diallo scandal.
Images of the then IMF chief paraded before TV cameras in handcuffs before being charged with attempted rape shocked the world and led to French media raking over smutty details of the former finance minister's private life.
"That's the end, not only of this affair, but of any potential affair, because one of the reasons for signing this kind of agreement is that both parties agree that they will never again bring a lawsuit," Christopher Mesnooh, a US lawyer who practises
in France, said of the Diallo agreement.
"There will always be people who wonder about what happened in New York and in Lille, but from a legal standpoint if he gets all this behind him, he's a free man," he added.
Ms Diallo alleged Mr Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex on him on May 14th, 2011, in his suite at the Manhattan Sofitel.
The criminal prosecution fell apart after doubts emerged concerning Ms Diallo's credibility as a witness, and the attempted rape charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn were eventually dropped.
Mr Strauss-Kahn has maintained that the sexual encounter was consensual, although he admitted in a TV interview after his return to France that he regretted his "moral error".
Mr Strauss-Kahn filed his own countersuit against the maid earlier this year, claiming that Ms Diallo's accusations had destroyed his career and harmed his reputation.
In recent months, Mr Strauss-Kahn has been making a comeback under the radar with a handful of speaking engagements at private conferences and by setting up a business consultancy firm in Paris.