Banon alleges that Strauss-Kahn lured her with the promise of an interview and then assaulted her [Reuters]

Tristane Banon, a French writer, has filed a legal complaint against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, alleging that he tried to rape her more than eight years ago.

David Koubbi, her lawyer, said the complaint related to an incident that took place when she went to interview Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, in an apartment in Paris.

Koubbi told Reuters on Tuesday that he had filed papers related to the 2003 case.

A lawyer for Strauss-Kahn said he had been instructed to bring a counter-action against Banon for falsely accusing him. "The facts that she recalls are imaginary," said attorney Henri Leclerc.

Strauss-Kahn is currently facing sexual assault charges in a New York court. This case could collapse after prosecutors said they had doubts over the credibility of the accuser, a hotel maid.

Speaking of the case in New York, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said Banon's complaint "comes at a time when the untruthful nature of the accusations he faces in the United States are no longer in any doubt".

But Kenneth Thompson, the attorney who is representing the hotel maid accuser in New York, applauded Banon's decision to file her complaint.

Also on Tuesday, Strauss-Kahn's accuser, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, sued the New York Post newspaper and five of its reporters for libel for reporting that she was a prostitute.

"... these statements are false, have subjected the plaintiff to humiliation, scorn and ridicule throughout the world by falsely portraying her as a prostitute or as a woman who trades her body for money and they constitute defamation and libel per se," the suit said.

'Makes me sick'

Banon told the L'Express website that "today, seeing Strauss-Kahn freed [from house arrest] then afterward dining in a fancy restaurant with friends, that makes me sick".

In a February 2007 appearance on a television chat show, Banon spoke of how a senior politician had lured her to a virtually empty apartment with promises of giving her an interview, and then assaulted her.

While the name of the politician had been censored from that broadcast, Banon later confirmed that she had been referring to Strauss-Kahn.

"I put down the recorder straight away to record him. He wanted to hold my hand while he replied, because he told me 'I wouldn't be able to manage unless you hold my hand'," she alleged in the original broadcast.

"Then the hand went to my arm, then a bit further, so I stopped straight away," she explained. "It finished very violently - as I told him clearly 'No, No!' - and we finished up 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 alleged, adding that she eventually escaped and considered pressing charges before abandoning the idea.

Anne Mansouret, Banon's mother and a socialist politician and blogger, confirmed to Rue89, a news website, that she had advised her daughter not to file a formal complaint at the time, for fear of hurting her career.

Under French law, a complaint of attempted rape can be brought up 10 years after an alleged attack.

Before his arrest in New York, Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist heavyweight, polled as the person most likely to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.

Source: Agencies