Image: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, left, and Tristane Banon
Joel Saget  /  AFP - Getty Images, file
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, left, came face-to-face with French writer Tristane Banon, right, who has accused him of attempted rape, in a Paris police station on Thursday.
updated 9/29/2011 3:49:47 PM ET 2011-09-29T19:49:47

Dominique Strauss-Kahn met in a face-to-face confrontation Thursday with a Frenchwoman who says he tried to rape her, but the woman claimed he refused to apologize or even look at her during the session with investigators.

Investigators questioned the former International Monetary Fund chief and Tristane Banon to help them decide whether to pursue charges of attempted rape brought by the 32-year-old woman.

Banon claims that Strauss-Kahn attacked her during an interview for a book in 2003. Strauss-Kahn calls the claims imaginary and slanderous. Banon said in an interview with TF1 TV station that "he kept repeating it's imaginary."

She said that Strauss-Kahn emanated "arrogance" and "coldness" during the meeting.

"I thought he would excuse himself. He didn't even look at me," Banon said.

Strauss-Kahn made his only public appearance since returning to France less than two weeks ago on the same show, and he has not made himself available to reporters since.

Still, she said the meeting was a "first victory" for her.

Banon requested the one-on-one meeting, which is sometimes used in France to help officials decide if a case is worth pursuing, with Strauss-Kahn.

The two did not speak to reporters as they arrived separately at the police facility and refused comment when they left.

Strauss-Kahn quit as IMF head and saw his chances for the French presidency evaporate after a New York hotel maid accused him of attempted rape in May.

The U.S. case was later dropped amid questions about the maid's credibility, but the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, has filed a civil suit. Strauss-Kahn claimed Monday he has diplomatic immunity and asked a New York court to dismiss the lawsuit.

French accuser Banon repeated her intention to do likewise if Paris prosecutors decide not to go forward with a criminal case against him.

World Blog: DSK expresses regret on French TV

One challenge for Banon's case, which was filed after Strauss-Kahn's May arrest in New York, is that the incident in question happened eight years ago.

Banon has said that Strauss-Kahn invited her to an empty apartment for the book interview, and they ended up tussling on the floor, with the politician trying to open her jeans and bra and putting his fingers in her mouth and underwear.

Banon has defended her decision not to file charges against Strauss-Kahn at the time of the alleged incident. In 2003, she was 23 years old and Strauss-Kahn was an eminence grise of France's Socialist party.

In the TV interview, she dismissed as irrelevant the time-lapse in her decision to take Strauss-Kahn to court.

"How do I prove he had the intention to rape me" be it 8 and a half hours after the incident, 8 and a half days, or 8 and a half years, she asked rhetorically. Material proof doesn't always exist and it's the intention of the alleged attacker that counts, she insisted.

"There was a rape attempt. I maintain that."

Asked if she hates Strauss-Kahn, she responded, "No, I disdain him. I disdain him as much as he disdains me."

The Associated Press does not generally name accusers in sexual assault cases unless they agree to be named or identify themselves publicly, as Banon and Diallo have done.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Dominique Strauss-Kahn back in France

  1. Closed captioning of: Dominique Strauss-Kahn back in France

    >>> the former head of the imf, international monetary fund back home in france . dominique strauss-khan arrived in paris this morning. new york prosecutors dropped their case after a maid accused him of attempted rape . let's go to annabelle roberts, live in london . a good sunday morning to you. any word to whether dsk will make a statement, talk to the media now that he's back home in france ?

    >> so far, nothing certain about that, alex , and he made no comment at the airport and chose not to speak to the media when he arrived back at his flat in paris. a scrum of journalists waiting for him, indicating how big a figure is dsk is in france . he and his wife looked relaxed and cheerful once they made it through the reporters. i do expect him to give a television interview, putting for the his version of what happened to him since may. don't really expect a statement from him today. of course, what those journalists and everyone else really wants to know is whether he will now attempt to return to front-line politics. remember, when he was arrested in may, he was the favorite to be selected to represent the socialist party in next year's presidential elebzctions and was believed to vai real chance to defeat nicolas sarkozy . in the past few weeks, france has learned a lot about his character and sexual behavior, and many have been frankly shocked. there are other voices that say this will blow over and he's too valuable and experienced an individual to be left out. france , like the rest of europe, is facing big problems and dsk has a wealth of experience dealing with debt problems from his time at imf and is a highly regarded economist. alex .

    >> you mentioned the troubles potential that will people have gotten to know a lot about his past in france . even though he's not facing charges in the u.s., criminal charges , civil ones are there. any potential for scandal in france ? anything else he faces there?

    >> well, there is, yes. he's facing charges in a different sex case in france . a young writer, cast tristiane banault who accused him of rape back in 2003 . prosecutors will decide shortly whether or not to proceed. mr. strauss-khan has threatened to sue her for defamation and faces the civil suit that you referred to in the states, by ms. diallo, the chamber maid who made the allegations in the united states . and could be other allegations that could start to trickle out now that he's back. most polls suggest that the majority of french people don't really want to see him in front-line politics yet, and, of course, there is always the possibility that he might endorse one of the other candidates seeking to be selected as the socialist candidate for the elections next year. at the moment, it seems they seem to be hesitating. no one seems to be rushing forward to embrace any such endorsement. there is concern that it might actually backfire. alex .

    >> annabelle roberts in london, many thanks.

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