Strauss-Kahn's return to France mooted for Sunday
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's highly anticipated return to France loomed, amid reports that he has booked himself on a flight arriving in Paris Sunday, DPA reported.
The former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief had bought a ticket on an Air France flight from New York that was scheduled to arrive in Paris at 8:30 am (0635 GMT) Sunday, Le Figaro newspaper reported Wednesday.
Le Figaro, which said it had gained access to the airline's booking system, pointed out that Strauss-Kahn could still change his booking.
But his return appeared imminent after he and his wife Anne Sinclair were seen leaving their home in Washington Thursday with a large amount of luggage.
Three months after his arrest in New York on charges of attempted rape just as he was about to fly to Paris, many people in France are hoping Strauss-Kahn will speak out once home about the allegations made against him by Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel maid.
Prosecutors dropped the charges last month, saying that while there was evidence of a hurried sexual encounter they could not be sure it was forced because Diallo had discredited herself as a witness by lying about her past and changing parts of her story.
Strauss-Kahn has observed a strict silence on the case, bar denying the allegations and expressing relief after the case was dropped at "the end of a terrible and unjust ordeal."
His tribulations may not be over yet. Diallo has lodged a civil case against him in a court in New York.
And in France, writer Tristane Banon has also filed a lawsuit accusing him of attempted rape in 2003. French police are investigating the allegations.
Ahead of Strauss-Kahn's return, leading members of his Socialist Party sought to distance themselves from the economist, who had been tipped, before his arrest, to win next year's presidential elections, but is now seen as contaminated politically.
Party veteran Martine Aubry, a friend of Strauss-Kahn who is one of five candidates for the Socialist presidential nomination, criticized him publicly this week, for the first time since his arrest.
"I think the same thing as a lot of women about Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attitude towards women," she said.
Former Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard said Strauss-Kahn, who has long had a reputation of being a compulsive womanizer, "visibly has a mental disorder" because of his "difficulties in controlling his instincts."
Rocard later said he regretted the remarks and apologized to Strauss-Kahn.