Sunday, October 30, 2011

A French version of Tricky Dicky?

Readers will doubtless remember the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal in New York a few months ago. Although the charges against him were withdrawn, it emerged that he did have a 'consensual' sexual encounter with a hotel maid. Numerous other allegations of improper conduct were levied against him by previous alleged 'victims'.

Now comes the news that his past dalliances appear to have caught up with him at last, and probably destroyed his political future. The Local (France) reports:

French newspapers have this month been reporting in torrid detail the latest accusations to hit Strauss-Kahn -- that while head of the International Monetary Fund he attended sex soirees with prostitutes paid for by businessmen.

The case began after the manager and the public relations chief of the luxury Carlton hotel in the northern city of Lille were arrested and charged with arranging prostitutes for guests with the help of a pimp based in Belgium.

Lille police chief Jean-Christophe Lagarde, who was detained by police for questioning as part of the pimping probe, allegedly attended evenings at a luxury Paris hotel along with prostitutes and Strauss-Kahn.

David Roquet, head of a subsidiary of construction giant Eiffage, allegedly paid part of the tab from the Paris hotel sex soirees, billing his company with invoices marked with Strauss-Kahn's initials "DSK".

Reporting on the scandal this week, news magazine Marianne described the probe as "an investigation into the French Berlusconi," comparing Strauss-Kahn to the Italian prime minister famed for his raunchy parties.

The reports emerged after French prosecutors said Strauss-Kahn had admitted to acts "that could be qualified as sexual assault" against French writer Tristane Banon in 2003 but that they were halting an investigation because the statute of limitations had expired.

Strauss-Kahn is also still facing a US civil suit by Nafissatou Diallo, the Guinean chambermaid who alleges he assaulted her at the New York hotel.

Strauss-Kahn has told AFP that he wanted the authorities to question him as soon as possible over the latest allegations in order to end the "insinuations".

But unlike after his arrest in New York, the French left has not rushed to defend Strauss-Kahn this time, instead denouncing his alleged sexual escapades and seeking to distance him from the Socialists.

"I am flabbergasted by his inability to face up to his responsibilities," a former ally told Le Point.

"The page on DSK has been turned, without regrets," a Socialist lawmaker said.

The Socialists are now pinning their hopes on Francois Hollande, a party insider who was chosen as the candidate in a primary this month.

The French people also seem to have turned against him, with Strauss-Kahn coming last in a recent poll measuring trust in public figures.

The Ipsos poll released on Monday showed 71 percent of respondents saying they had an unfavourable view of Strauss-Kahn and only 20 percent a favourable one. He was ranked 35th out of 35 in the poll, down seven spots from only a month ago.

"How is it possible that such a vulnerable man was carried up to the steps of the presidency, to the point that he was declared the victor before even being a candidate?" Le Point said.

"The accumulation of revelations is turning into a sad farce, putting without a doubt the final nail in the coffin of a man who had been so glorified."

There's more at the link.

So yet another politician finds out that he can't conceal his peccadilloes forever. I'd love to know how many politicians have been undone by their sex drives . . . it must be an enormous number! The United States has long lists of Federal and State offenders of its own. I suppose power is an aphrodisiac, of a sort, both to the perpetrators and to their (usually willing) victims. Sadly, such people often take real gifts and abilities with them in their fall from grace, leaving their countries and political structures the poorer for their passing.


No comments: