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SATURDAY’S CHILD: Catch as catch Kahn


Tony Deyal

SATURDAY’S CHILD: Catch as catch Kahn

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How do you make a hot rabbit stew? First, you pull him off a plane; then you put him in handcuffs and frogmarch him to court; next you refuse him bail; and finally throw him in jail in the notorious Riker’s Island prison.  
This was the treatment meted out to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose wealth gave him the ability to get ahead in life, but whose heady ride as one of the Lords of Poverty may have made him get ahead of himself.  
In fact, it suggested that it is his quest for “head” that may have caused him to lose his head and forcibly assault a chambermaid in the posh Sofitel New York hotel, where he occupied a US$3 000 per night luxury suite.  
Now, it seems, the “suite” life has ended for “suite” boy Dominique who is known as the “hot rabbit” (lapin chaud in French) and “the great seducer”.
The International Business Times says that “rumours of extramarital affairs and inappropriate sexual behaviour have long dogged Strauss-Kahn throughout his career.  The French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche had dubbed him “le grand séducteur” (the Great Seducer). The International Business Times recounts a previous incident: “During the height of the global financial crisis in late 2008, the boss of the IMF was investigated for having an affair with one of his underlings, a young Hungarian economist named Piroska Nagy, the wife of prominent Argentine economist Mario Blejer.  
Blejer charged that Strauss-Kahn seduced his wife at the Davos international forum in Switzerland. Nagy, who worked in the IMF’s Africa department, left the fund and went to work in London for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – a job that Strauss-Kahn allegedly helped her to secure.
Now, an AFP story says that “lawyers of a French novelist and journalist said on Monday that their client will be making a formal police complaint that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in 2002. Novelist and journalist Tristane Banon, 31, previously made the allegation against the leading politician in 2007 on TV and in an interview with a website, but had not made a formal complaint to authorities. Lawyer David Koubbi said that his client had previously been persuaded not to take action by her mother, a regional councillor in Strauss-Kahn’s Socialist Party”.  
Banon described Strauss-Kahn as a “chimpanzee” and recounted, “Then the hand went to my arm, then a bit further, so I stopped straight away.  It finished very violently. We finished fighting on the floor. There wasn’t just a couple of blows. I kicked him, and he tried to unclip my bra, to open my jeans.”  
Banon’s mother, Socialist politician Anne Mansouret, has confirmed that she had advised her daughter to not to make a formal complaint.
TIME newsfeed reported: In 2009, public radio station France-Inter aired what now looks like an uncomfortably prescient radio skit, in which comedian Stéphane Guillon declared the station had taken “extraordinary security measures” to protect women in the office ahead of Strauss-Kahn’s arrival. Guillon suggested that all female personnel wear long, dark unsexy clothing, and joked that one of the station’s editors had decided to wear a burka.
In the meantime, it seems that Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers are going to claim that whatever happened was consensual and are using the fact that Strauss-Kahn called the hotel to enquire about his missing cellphone as proof that he had not done anything wrong. Perhaps, like all powerful people, Strauss-Khan has been seduced by the myth of his own power. The classic example is Richard Nixon, who naively insisted, “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” I call it a “Kahn-do” attitude.
A lot of my friends have been bombarding me with their own takes on the situation. One said, “If they let him get away to France, where they have no extradition treaty with the US, it would have been a case of ‘catch me if you Kahn’.” Then there were the usual things like saying the new revelations about Kahn’s behaviour were “opening up a Kahn of worms”.
The most outrageous comment I got was from a friend, who said, “I see he has a whole wing to himself in jail.” I said, “Yes, that’s true.” “Well they better don’t give him another wing,” my friend insisted, “otherwise he will fly away!”

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