The French were of mixed minds from the beginning about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, indicted on charges that included attempted rape and sexual assault.
Some of them burst with glee when the suspected "womanizer" fell from grace. But the conspiracy theorists were convinced that their fellow Frenchman and former head of the International Monetary Fund was himself the victim, set up by sinister forces determined to silence him on the world stage for various reasons.
Here are five conspiracy theories, so far unproved:
1. Revenge. The Strauss-Kahn IMF had the audacity to forecast that China's economy would soon surpass the United States'. Such a reversal of fortune proved intolerable for U.S. leaders, according to an analysis in the Chinese government-controlled publication Huanqiu, so Strauss-Kahn had to pay for the agency's calculation, at the hands of the U.S. government and President Obama.
2. Political Hit Job. With opinion polls once making Strauss-Kahn the front-runner in next April's French presidential election, he had his share of detractors. And his supporters wasted no time pointing fingers at rival President Nicolas Sarkozy, even going so far as to suggest that the Sarkozy administration was somehow in cahoots with the French multinational owners of the New York City hotel where Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually abused the maid.
Oh, and let's not forget his supporters' less-than-subtle reminder that Sarkozy is apparently on good terms with New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
3. The Roman Polanski Effect. This one holds that Strauss-Kahn suffered for the sins of movie director Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor but fled the United States in 1978 before sentencing, and has been a fugitive ever since, living in France. Strauss-Kahn was on a Paris-bound plane and moments away from takeoff when U.S. authorities arrested him.
4. A Rich Jew With a Fondness for Women. Whatever his intention, Strauss-Kahn sowed the seeds of conspiracy in an interview with French daily Liberation before his arrest in which he said he would face three challenges as a presidential candidate. "The money, women and my Jewishness," according to reported translations of the French interview. "Yes, I love women ... so what?"
5. Disrespect. Not to be outdone by the Chinese, or so the conspiracy theorists note in their search for fingerprints, the Russians had a bone to pick with Strauss-Kahn and how he treated them at the IMF, and the Greeks needed someone more sensitive to their bailout needs at the helm of the IMF.
Whether Christine Lagarde, France's former finance minister and Strauss-Kahn's replacement at the IMF, fits the bill remains to be seen.