Even if Dominique Strauss-Kahn manages to avoid facing sexual-assault charges in New York, he still faces accusations in France, where 31-year-old French journalist Tristane Banon claims he tried to rape her in 2002. Why she never came forward at the time has largely been chalked up to pressure from her mother, Anne Mansouret, a senior official in France's Socialist Party and best friends with Brigitte Guillemette, DSK's wife at the time as well as Tristane's godmother.
That case just got a whole lot messier: According to a report by the French magazine L'Express, Mansouret recently revealed to the special prosecutor investigating Tristane's case that she had a very real, very messy reason for advising her daughter as she did: her own sexual past with DSK.
Mansouret told the prosecutor that she had a single, violent sexual encounter with DSK in the OECD building in Paris, where he worked as special adviser to the organization's secretary general. ("He took me with the vulgarity of a soldier," were her exact words, according to the Daily Mail.) This apparently took place soon after DSK began working at the OECD in 2000; the alleged attack against Tristane Banon took place in 2002 — which means if the events occurred as the two women claim, barely two years elapsed between the incidents.
Mansouret kept the encounter secret at first — after all, she'd had sex with her best friend's husband — but then in 2002 she got the phone call from Tristane, who claimed to have just escaped from the empty apartment where she says DSK locked the door and attacked her. Soon after, Mansouret called her friend Brigitte, who in turn confronted DSK. According to the report, he then confessed to Brigitte that he slept with Mansouret and went after her daughter.
Despite her daughter's decision not to press charges at the time, Mansouret wanted to give DSK a piece of her mind, and the two met over a glass of wine in a bistro:
According to Anne Mansouret, DSK was sorry, he apologized for his behavior, saying he didn't intend to harm Tristane. But, according to the young girl's mother, he didn't seem particularly worried about a complaint being filed.
And it gets even spicier. While Tristane and her mother were deciding whether or not to move forward with any judicial action, a Socialist Party politician, François Hollande, took an interest in the matter. (For those of you keeping up with your French presidential wannabes, Hollande is considered one of the top Socialist Party contenders now that DSK is largely out of the picture;
his partner is he has four children with Ségolène Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate in 2006.) Tristane confirms that he did, in fact, give Banon a call; it's unclear what he counseled her to do.
Hollande is expected to be called up by the special investigator any day now, according to Le Nouvel Observateur. This is just not a good year to be a Socialist in France running for president.
The DSK Banon Affair: Hollande Expected to be Questioned Soon [Le Nouvel Observateur]
The DSK-Banon Affair: Anne Mansouret's Secrets [L'Express]