Strauss-Kahn admits to being 'naive'

Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 01:00

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN has complained he has become the target of a media “manhunt” and appealed to be left alone as he attempts to rebuild his life after the sexual assault charges that ended his political career.

In his first interview in more than a year, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund said he had been “naive” about his personal behaviour in the past but, citing pending civil proceedings, refused to discuss the events leading to his arrest in New York last year.

“I no longer have public duties, I am not a candidate for anything. I have never been convicted in this country or any other,” Mr Strauss-Kahn told Le Point magazine.

“Nothing justifies the fact I have become the target of a media hunt which sometimes ends up resembling a manhunt ... Leave me alone!”

Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister, was about to announce a bid for the 2012 presidential election when he was arrested and briefly jailed after a hotel maid accused him of sexual assault.

The case against him was dropped, but he faces civil proceedings taken by the maid. He is also being investigated in France over alleged links to a prostitution network in the city of Lille, although prosecutors recently shelved a more serious investigation into accusations of group rape.

“The constraints of the civil proceedings restrict me from telling my truth,” he said. “Make no mistake: I’m more frustrated than anyone by that. In the United States, one only brings an action such as this against someone who is rich. The complainant’s lawyers thought I was, but I’m not.”

Mr Strauss-Kahn expressed some regret for his actions, describing his visits to “swinger” clubs as “naive, to say the least”.

“I thought I could lead my personal life as I wished … That might be true for a chief executive, a sports star or an artist, but not for a politician. My views on that were too different from those of French society for a political leader.”

Since his arrest, Mr Strauss-Kahn has cut an isolated figure. He has been shunned in public by former Socialist Party colleagues and he and his wife recently separated. Despite protests during his first appearances on the conference circuit, he recently appeared at events in Ukraine and Morocco and has set up a business consulting firm in Paris.