(AFP) – Aug 4, 2011
PARIS — Air France issued orders for only male staff to serve Dominique Strauss-Kahn when the former IMF boss -- accused of attempted rape in New York -- travelled on its planes, a report said Thursday.
Le Parisien newspaper also said that lawyers of Strauss-Kahn's accuser were calling for testimony from Air France female stewards who allegedly suffered inappropriate behaviour by him.
A spokesman for the airline however responded to the report by saying that "Air France formally denies having given any instruction about the composition of its crews."
Le Parisien said lawyers of Nafissatou Diallo -- the African hotel maid who made the accusations against the ex-International Monetary Fund chief -- had received at least two testimonies from air crew who had been importuned.
The paper quoted the lawyers as saying that "this inexplicable mindset which enables him to abuse women is further proof which gives credibility to the aggression suffered by Ms Diallo on May 14."
The lawyers -- Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor -- were not immediately available for comment on Le Parisien's report.
The French paper also said they had received an anonymous letter stating that Air France had issued orders that only male employees should work in the first class sections of its planes when Strauss-Kahn was travelling.
Representatives of several unions at the airline told AFP that their members had not reported any inappropriate behaviour by the IMF boss, who was a frequent traveller on Air France jets between the United States and Europe.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, a veteran French politician, has denied seven charges of attempted rape and sexual assault arising out of the incident in his luxury Sofitel hotel suite in Manhattan.
Thompson has warned of a civil suit even if Strauss-Kahn escapes criminal trial. The ex-IMF chief's lawyers accuse the maid of seeking a big payday through such a civil suit.
A Frenchwoman claiming to be an ex-lover of Strauss-Kahn said last week she would testify in the scandal over attempted rape charges against him if asked.
Another Frenchwoman, the writer Tristane Banon, 32, has brought legal action against him alleging that he tried to rape her in Paris in 2003.
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