French police have dropped an inquiry into allegations that former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape a French writer in 2003, French prosecutors said today.
"There aren't enough elements of evidence to pursue an attempted rape case," said a statement released today by a Parisian court. But the statement said the inquiry did find "facts that can be qualified as sexual assault have been recognized."
The prosecutors said that investigators could not go forward with a sexual assault case because the statute of limitations for those charges had long passed.
The French writer, Tristane Banon, said the alleged incident took place in 2003, but did not come forward with the accusations until July 2011.
Strauss-Kahn, already a high-profile figure in France, came under the international spotlight in May 2011 when he was arrested in New York City after a hotel maid there, Nafissatou Diallo, accused him of assaulting her. All charges in that case were dropped in August.
An attorney for Banon did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this report.
In the 128-page novel, called Le Bal des Hypocrites [The Hypocrites' Ball], Banon does not use Strauss-Kahn's name, but reportedly describes an incident in which she was sexually assaulted that very closely resembles the story she has given publicly about her 2003 interaction with Strauss-Kahn.
"Eight years ago, the pig stole my life," Banon writes in the beginning of the novel.
In 2007, Banon described the alleged assault on a French television show.
"It ended up violent… I kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra … and tried to unzip my jeans," Banon said on the show.
Banon, 23 years old at the time, said she had arranged to meet Strauss-Kahn for an interview for a book she was writing. Banon said on the French show that Strauss-Kahn told her to meet him at an address that turned out to be an apartment that was empty except for a bed and a video camera. Banon said she was "surprised" when told to meet him there since she knew where he lived and worked.
Once inside, Banon said, Strauss-Kahn insisted that she conduct the interview "holding his hand."
Banon said that the hand-holding turned into sexual advances and that Strauss-Kahn became violent. They fought on the floor of the apartment. "When we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to scare him," said Banon, which she said did not stop Strauss-Kahn. Ultimately, she fought him off and left.
In July 2011, Banon told a French journal she was filing a complaint against Strauss-Kahn because she said, "I cannot stand it any longer to hear that I am a liar because I'm not filing a complaint."
She said she and her lawyer decided in mid-May 2011 they would eventually file a complaint, and they would not file right away in order not to interfere with the maid's case against Strauss-Kahn in New York.
In July, lawyers for Strauss-Kahn told The Associated Press Banon's story was "imaginary."
"[Strauss-Kahn] notes that this complaint comes quite conveniently right at the moment when there is no longer the slightest doubt about the false nature of the accusations against him in the United States," attorneys Henri Leclerc and Frederique Baulieu said in a joint statement then, according to the AP.