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Strauss-Kahn innocent till proven guilty: French government

The French government considers that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is innocent until proven guilty following his arrest in New York on sexual assault charges, its spokesman Francois Baroin said Sunday.

"The French government respects two simple principles: that the judicial proceedings are under way under the authority of American justice, according to American law, and the respect for the presumption of innocence," Baroin said on France 2 television.

Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was the
favourite potential candidate in the polls to win the French presidency in next
year's election, ahead of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Police arrested Strauss-Kahn in New York and charged him with the sexual
assault, unlawful emprisonment and attempted rape of a 32-year-old maid in his hotel room.

His Washington lawyer William Taylor told AFP that Strauss-Kahn would deny
all the charges and plead not guilty.

The French government "will go no further in commenting on this affair," said Baroin, who was the first member of the government to react publicy to the arrest.

"It is necessary to exercise extreme caution in expressing oneself, analyzing and commenting, and in the consequences," Baroin added.

Strauss-Kahn "is going to be heard by a judge and will have the chance to express himself" and "to give his version" of events, Baroin added.

(AFP)



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