Wires

Leave me in peace, France's Strauss-Kahn begs media

PARIS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Former IMF chief DominiqueStrauss-Kahn said in a rare magazine interview published onWednesday that he is tired of being hunted by the media andbegged to be left alone as he tries to move on from a sexscandal that wrecked his career.

Strauss-Kahn, who is trying to make a comeback as aconference speaker while fighting two legal cases over allegedsexual misconduct, said since he had not been convicted of anycrime he should be left alone.

"I no longer have public duties, I am not a candidate foranything. I have never been convicted in this country or anyother," Strauss-Kahn, once tipped to win the May presidentialelection, told the weekly Le Point.

"Nothing justifies the fact I have become the target of amedia hunt which sometimes ends up resembling a manhunt."

Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister, was days away fromannouncing a bid for the 2012 presidential election when he waspulled off a plane on a New York runway by police and brieflyjailed after a hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her.

The ensuing scandal, and a media frenzy that raked up grubbydetails of his private life and other allegations of misconduct,turned him from being one of the world's most influentialeconomic thinkers to a man millions now know best for beingphotographed in handcuffs with thick stubble.

Friends say he spends much of his time closeted at homeplaying online computer games, while his art heiress wife AnneSinclair, has rekindled her career as a high-profile editor atthe Huffington Post's French edition. A source recentlyconfirmed media reports that the couple has separated.

Despite protests by feminists during his first sorties onthe international conference circuit, the former InternationalMonetary Fund chief recently appeared at events in Ukraine andMorocco and has set up a business consulting firm in Paris.

Strauss-Kahn is being investigated in France over allegedlinks to a prostitute network in the northern city of Lille,although prosecutors recently shelved a more seriousinvestigation into accusations of group rape.

He is also fighting a U.S. civil case brought by the hotelmaid who says he assaulted her in May 2011.

Strauss-Kahn, 63, told Le Point he was not a celebrity orpolitician and so was entitled to privacy like anybody else.

Instead, photographers frequently stand guard outside theapartment he recently moved to in Montparnasse, he said.

"I cannot stand people abusing my situation and the judicialinquiries that are, wrongly, targeting me to ridicule my privatelife and throw about scraps, real or invented, on the pretext ofgoodness knows what moralising transparency."

(Reporting By Catherine Bremer, editing by Paul Casciato)

((catherine.bremer@thomsonreuters.com)(+33 1 4949 5242)(ReutersMessaging: catherine.bremer@thomsonreuters.com.reuters.net))

Keywords: FRANCE STRAUSSKAHN/