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

PARIS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a rare magazine interview published on Wednesday that he is tired of being hunted by the media and begged to be left alone as he tries to move on from a sex scandal that wrecked his career.

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

"I no longer have public duties, I am not a candidate for anything. I have never been convicted in this country or any other," Strauss-Kahn, once tipped to win the May presidential election, told the weekly Le Point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I cannot stand people abusing my situation and the judicial inquiries that are, wrongly, targeting me to ridicule my private life and throw about scraps, real or invented, on the pretext of goodness knows what moralising transparency."

(Reporting By Catherine Bremer, editing by Paul Casciato)

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