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I made a 'moral error', Strauss-Kahn says

(China Daily)

09:41, September 19, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former International Monetary Fund chief (IMF), in this still image taken from TF1 television footage, appears on their prime time news programme in their studios in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, September 18, 2011.(Photo/Agencies)

PARIS - Dominique Strauss-Kahn apologised to his country on Sunday for a sexual encounter with a hotel maid he said was a "moral error" he would regret all his life, and vowed to stay out of the Socialist Party's 2012 election campaign in France.

In his first interview since a New York sex assault case derailed his IMF career and wrecked his chances of running for president, Strauss-Kahn said he was angry with himself for what he called an ill-judged but consensual liaison that had let down his country and hurt his family.

"It was a moral error, and I am not proud of it," Strauss-Kahn said in an interview on TF1's primetime Sunday evening TV news programme, watched by millions. "I regret it, infinitely, and I don't think I am finished with regretting it."

Sounding repentant but also defensive over the rush to judge him as a criminal for a private act he said involved no violence, the former International Monetary Fund head said he had "lost everything" over the incident.

Once seen as the left's best chance of winning power in the April 2012 election, Strauss-Kahn returned to France on September 4 after a New York prosecutor dropped attempted rape charges related to his nine-minute encounter with a Sofitel hotel maid.

Dressed in a dark suit and sober midnight-blue tie, with a tightly buttoned shirt and neatly combed hair, his appearance on Sunday was a far cry from the dishevelled, unshaven prisoner paraded before cameras in handcuffs after his mid-May arrest.

He was also a different man from the poised, erudite IMF chief and ex-finance minister who has addressed the world from hundreds of high-profile podiums over the years.

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