French left backs DSK for shock return

 
Steve Dinneen
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A NEW poll suggests former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn could stage a remarkable political come-back should the rapidly unravelling sex case against him finally collapse.

As the credibility of the maid at the centre of the scandal comes under increasing doubt, a poll shows 60 per cent of left-leaning French voters want the man known as DSK to make a return to frontline politics. This slips to 49 per cent among the general public.

Just over half of French leftists want to see the man previously seen as a racing certainty to beat Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential race back in the frame for the top job, saying the Socialist party should delay announcing an official candidate.

However, analysts say the chances of him running for the Presidency are very unlikely, especially with the additional allegations levelled against him, including a French journalist who says she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn a decade ago.

His supporters say he should be able to run while he has not been convicted of any crime.

Socialist contenders must declare their candidacy by 13 July, although there have been calls to extend the deadline so Strauss-Kahn could take part. The earliest he could be cleared is 18 July.

The high-profile sex case has been rocked by a string of revelations about the accuser, which last week led a judge to released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest and lift strict bail conditions.

The 32-year-old woman is understood to have been recorded making a call to her suspected drug-dealer boyfriend in a US prison, where she discussed the possibility of making a financial gain from the incident.

Prosecutors say the woman also lied about being gang-raped in Guinea as part of an application for US asylum and changed details of her story about what she did after the incident in Straus-Kahn’s luxury hotel suite.

Further allegations include lying to officials about possessing a number of mobile phones and bank accounts showing the transfer of tens of thousands of pounds, despite claims the hotel is her only source of income.

Strauss-Kahn’s next court appearance in New York will be for an 18 July hearing.

TIMELINE
HOW THE STRAUSS-KAHN CHARGES UNFOLDED

13 May 2011
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn checks into the Sofitel hotel in New York.

14 May 2011
A maid claims to have entered the room, which she apparently thought was unoccupied, to be met with Strauss-Kahn running naked at her from the shower. She claims he sexually assaulted her and attempted to rape her. He later admits a sexual encounter but denies the charges. Strauss-Kahn then checks out of the hotel, leaving behind some personal belongings, and goes to a scheduled lunch. After this he boards a plane to France, on which he is arrested from the first class section.

15 May 2011
Strauss-Kahn is charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. His wife, French television personality Anne Sinclair, publicly backs her husband.

16 May 2011
Strauss-Kahn appears in Manhattan Criminal Court for his hearing. He is denied bail and transferred to Rikers Island jail.

17 May 2011
Strauss-Kahn resigns as managing director of the IMF.

18 May 2011
A New York judge grants Strauss-Kahn bail. The terms are $1m cash bail, 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring and an armed guard.

1 July 2011
Speculation builds over the credibility of the alleged victim, who appears to have links to a suspected drug dealer and was recorded discussing how she could benefit from the case.