John Lichfield
The Independent

November 29, 2011

An American investigative journalist has thrown new doubt on the arrest of the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Was DSK, then undeclared front runner for next year’s French presidential election, the victim of a plot orchestrated by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in Paris?

The author of the article in the New York Review of Books, Edward Jay Epstein, is a veteran investigative journalist and conspiracy theorist. He has suggested, in subsequent interviews, that his findings imply a plot to destroy DSK, hatched by Mr Sarkozy’s party. In other interviews he makes a less dramatic claim. Mr Strauss-Kahn, he suggests, had been placed under surveillance by political forces in Paris prospecting for dirt.

His six-minute sexual encounter at the Manhattan Sofitel with the chamber-maid Nafissatou Diallo – a “moral fault” according to DSK; an attempted rape according to Mr Diallo – was exactly what “they” were waiting for.

Mr Epstein suggests that the French-owned Accor hotel group, owners of the Manhattan Sofitel, at the very least helped the French “political forces” to “exploit” the incident. Here we examine Mr Epstein’s main findings, which are based on tapes from hotel security cameras, the traces left by hotel electronic pass-cards and records of the mobile telephones of both DSK and hotel staff. They raise many intriguing points.

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