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Business analysis and comment from Herald columnist Fran O'Sullivan

Fran O'Sullivan: More to DSK saga than swiftly laid rape case

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The New York prosecutor's decision to drop rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be dissected by journalists, feminists and political analysts for years to come.

And so it should be.

Cyrus R. Vance jnr's decision not to allow housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo her day in court is astounding on many levels.

Mario Almonte, writing in the Huffington Post, said, "If you're a woman, the abrupt dismissal of all rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has got to frighten you a little. The implications seem to be that it is illegal to rape an honest woman, but it's okay to rape a woman who has credibility issues."

Almonte has a point.

Diallo presented as a fabulist with her untrue stories of being gang-raped by soldiers in Guinea. There were the big amounts of cash that have been laundered through her bank accounts. She has been unmasked as a tax fraudster and welfare cheat. Someone who lied to Immigration to try to get asylum status.

But does all of this mean her story of what happened in the bedroom of the Sofitel wasn't true? And if so, does it mean that only a person of blameless personal excellence can call rape against a very powerful person?

In New Zealand, Louise Nicholas also had credibility issues.

A policeman who appeared to disparage her reputation did all he could to obstruct the course of justice at the first two early trials.

When the case finally got to trial again former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards and former policemen Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum were acquitted on charges of rape. But Shipton and Schollum did serve jail sentences on charges for unrelated rape of another woman.

It is obvious that Diallo had a credibility problem.

But Vance didn't trouble himself on this score before arresting DSK and putting him through his own very public credibility wringer.

It's a moot point that if credibility was going to play a part in the post-arrest sequence, then the New York prosecutors should have made detailed investigations before laying charges against the former IMF boss. It's hardly as if France could have refused an extradition request if the evidence had stacked up.

DSK's lawyers are already distancing themselves from this rather dreadful affair.

But the upshot is that his allies, who were quick to holler "entrapment" after he was arrested in Air France's first-class cabin and ultimately made to perform the "perp walk" to the slavering delight of New York tabloids, will continue to argue it was a setup.

Strauss-Kahn had a lot going for him. Not only did he head an International Monetary Fund that was increasingly intent on playing an aggressive role in world governance, but he was also on track to be the French socialist party's candidate in next year's presidential elections.

His wife wore DSK's reputation as the "great seducer" as a badge of honour. ("I'm actually rather proud of it! It's important to seduce for a politician. As long as he seduces me and I seduce him, that's good enough for me," said Anne Sinclair.)

Sinclair knew the score. Her husband frequented high-class hookers and was rather aggressive in his sexual pursuit of women. This was said to be an open secret in France.

I don't buy into the notion that incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy's people decided to trawl about in DSK's underwear to assemble sufficient dirt to discredit his political ambitions. Sarkozy has form himself.

But what remains very interesting indeed is the fact that Strauss-Kahn, as IMF managing director, had called for a new world currency that "would challenge the dominance of the US dollar and protect against future financial instability".

His decision to swing behind the Chinese call to add emerging markets' currencies like the yuan to a basket of currencies that the IMF administers would have upset the global power balance.

As American conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said on DSK's arrest: "Now it's Strauss-Kahn's turn to get torn to shreds. After all, DSK actually poses a much greater threat to the dollar than either Saddam or Gaddafi because he's in the perfect position to shape policy and persuade foreign heads of state that replacing the dollar is in their best interests.

"And that is precisely what he was doing; badmouthing the buck. Only he was too dense to figure out that the dollar is the US mafia's mealticket, the main way that shifty banksters and corporate scallywags extort tribute from the poorest people on earth. Strauss-Kahn was rocking the boat, and now he's going to pay."

Polls suggest that the French want DSK to take a holiday from the headlines before relaunching his career.

But if American journalists are doing their job they will investigate not just the two losers, but who the real winners are from this affair.

- NZ Herald

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