Strauss-Kahn Free to Return to France

New York, Aug 24 (IANS/EFE): Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn Tuesday expressed his relief at seeing the end of the "nightmare" in his first remarks to the press since he was arrested in New York May 14 and accused of sexual assault.

The 62-year-old French politician is free to leave the US after New York state Judge Michael Obus accepted the Manhattan district attorney's motion to drop the charges and an appeals court turned down the complainant's request for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

"(W)e look forward to returning to our home and resuming something of a more normal life," Strauss-Kahn said in a written statement.

DSK, as he is known, said he was "most deeply grateful to my wife", journalist Anne Sinclair, and to "all the friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence".

Strauss-Kahn was arrested May 14 at New York's JFK Airport as he was leaving for Paris, after hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo accused him of sexually assaulting her inside his suite at the Sofitel hotel near Times Square.

He quickly stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund and the accusation appeared to destroy his hopes of winning France's 2012 presidential election.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said his office decided to drop the charges because of questions about the credibility of the 32-year-old Guinean immigrant.

Diallo's attorneys had asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor because they felt that Vance had handled the case badly and that his office actively undermined the credibility of their client.


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