Paris prosecutors probe Strauss-Kahn accusation

    PARIS (AP) ? The Paris prosecutor’s office said Friday it has opened a preliminary investigation into accusations by a French writer that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her.

    The probe comes just as New York prosecutors are weighing whether or not to go ahead with a case in which a chambermaid accused Strauss-Kahn ? long considered a top contender for France’s presidency ? of sexual assault.

    Tristane Banon filed a criminal complaint this week saying that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in an empty apartment in 2003 during an interview for a book project, struggling with her on the floor as he tried to tear off her clothes.

    An official in the Paris prosecutor’s office said Friday that a preliminary investigation has been opened into the complaint. The official was not authorized to be publicly named because the investigation is under way.

    The investigation allows investigators to question Banon and those close to her about the eight-year-old incident. It could also allow investigators to question Strauss-Kahn, though most likely not unless and until he returns to France.

    After the preliminary probe, which could take weeks or months, the prosecutor’s office could decide to drop the case or pursue the investigation, which could eventually lead to a trial.

    Strauss-Kahn quit as head of the International Monetary Fund after a New York hotel maid accused him of attempted rape in May, but questions have surfaced about the maid’s credibility.