Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has hinted that there is more to Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on charges of sexual assault than meets the eye, according to various media reports.
Putin told Interfax news agency that he finds it hard to believe the controversial charges against the Frenchman and is worried that he may have fallen victim to a shadowy plot to discredit him, various UK newspapers reported.
"It is hard for me to evaluate the real political underlying reasons and I do not even want to get into that subject, but I cannot believe that everything is as it seems and how it was initially presented," the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying. "It does not sit right in my head."
Mere days ago, a French politician alleged that Strauss-Kahn said that Putin was planning to oust him days before his arrest.
"He said the Russians and notably Putin had allied themselves with France to try to have him fired from the IMF to stop him running for (French) president," Claude Bartolone, a socialist politician, said according to the Telegraph.
Strauss-Kahn, who was freed on bail after six days in custody, is facing charges of rape, sexual abuse and false imprisonment after an alleged assault on a hotel maid. He was arrested at JFK airport on May 14.
Putin was criticised for his remarks when rape allegations against then Israeli President Moshe Katsav first emerged in 2006, the paper reported. Mr Katsav has recently been convicted of rape and is serving a seven-year sentence.
At the time, Putin was quoted as saying: "What a mighty man he turns out to be! He raped 10 women - I would never have expected this from him. He surprised us all - we all envy him!"
A spokesman for the then-President said the joke had been mistranslated.