PARIS, July 31, 2011 (AFP) - A Frenchwoman claiming to be an ex-lover of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said she would testify in the scandal over attempted rape charges against him if asked, in comments published Sunday.
She was photographed and identified as Marie-Victorine M., a 38-year-old consultant, by French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, which said she started an affair with Strauss-Kahn in 1997 after her father introduced them.
She also described her affair with Strauss-Kahn in an interview published this weekend in Swiss magazine L'Illustre, in which she said her testimony would most likely benefit Strauss-Kahn's defence.
"I am not here to kick a man who is down," she added in that interview. She replied "yes" when asked if she would testify, but told L'Illustre: "I think that would no doubt benefit his defence more than his accusers."
She said in both interviews that she had been quizzed by the lawyer of Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accuses the powerful French politician of sexually assaulting and trying to rape her in a Manhattan hotel room.
Diallo spoke out this week about the case after prosecutors shed doubt on her credibility and a judge released Strauss-Kahn from house arrest.
Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, warned of a civil suit even if Strauss-Kahn escapes criminal trial.
Another Frenchwoman, the writer Tristane Banon, 32, has brought legal action against Strauss-Kahn alleging that he tried to rape her in Paris in 2003.
Banon is the god-daughter of Strauss-Kahn's ex-wife and the daughter of a fellow member of his opposition Socialist party who herself has admitted having a consensual sexual encounter with him.
Banon too has talked to Diallo's legal team.