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News 30 Jul 13

‘Strauss-Kahn to Serbia’ Tale Excites Belgrade Media

A report claiming that sex scandal-haunted former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn could become an adviser to the Serbian government has titillated media-watchers in Belgrade.

Danas, B92

The prospect of the Serbian government recruiting the embattled Strauss-Kahn, who could soon face trial in France for 'aggravated pimping', intrigued and amused media-watchers in the country on Tuesday.

A front-page report in daily newspaper Danas quoted an unnamed, allegedly high-level source from the ruling Progressive party as saying that the former IMF chief had been sounded out about supplying his wisdom to the Serbian authorities.

Danas quoted Serbian deputy prime minister Aleksandar Vucic as telling Friday's meeting of the Progressive party about the "possibility that a foreigner might be appointed to an important office in the reshuffled government".

"The name of the expert would produce a bomb effect," Vucic was reported to have said.

Danas said that its source had revealed that the foreigner referred to was Strauss-Kahn.

But another anonymous source – this time said to be close to Strauss-Kahn, who once wanted to become France’s president before his career was damaged by sex allegations – told the AFP news agency that he wasn’t negotiating an adviser's job in Belgrade.

However AFP also quoted yet another unnamed source, this time from the Serbian government, saying that it really had made a proposition to Strauss-Kahn but was worried about how much he might charge.

"We talked... but nothing is certain. We made the first contact, but it's a lot of money," the source is said to have said.

Amid the confusion, some of the readers of B92’s website offered mocking suggestions for other potential candidates who could be recruited as Serbian government advisers, including New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, currently embroiled in a scandal over online sex chats.

The 64-year-old Strauss-Kahn had presidential ambitions before he was arrested in New York in 2011 after a hotel maid alleged that he had sexually assaulted her.

Those charges were dropped, but not before the Frenchman had resigned as the IMF's chief.

He now faces trial in France on charges of aggravated pimping in connection with alleged sex parties with prostitutes in a hotel in the city of Lille.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a 1.5 million euro fine.

Strauss-Kahn insists that he is not guilty, arguing that he was unaware that the women were prostitutes.

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