The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has accused political enemies linked to Nicolas Sarkozy and his ruling UMP party of destroying his bid for the French presidency by choreographing the scandal that erupted last year when he was accused of assaulting a New York hotel maid.
Strauss-Kahn stated that he believes the highly public undoing that followed his encounter with the housekeeper in the Sofitel hotel's presidential suite, and his imprisonment on charges of attempted rape, were orchestrated by his political opponents.
While he does not believe the incident with Nafissatou Diallo was a setup, he said the subsequent escalation of the events on May 14 into a criminal investigation that destroyed his chances of winning the presidency had been "shaped by those with a political agenda" and that "more was involved here than mere coincidence".
Strauss-Kahn's allegations are based on his own studies over the past 11 months - aided by a private detective service, Guidepost Solutions - of the Sofitel's CCTV footage, electronic key card and mobile phone records.
"Perhaps I was politically naive, but I simply did not believe that they would go that far … I didn't think they could find anything that could stop me," he told investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein.
Strauss-Kahn's accusations come days before the final round of the presidential election, which until his downfall last year he had been tipped to win.
The vote will be held on May 6, with polls showing the Socialist Francois Hollande beating Sarkozy.
At the time of his arrest last year, Strauss-Kahn was polling ahead of Hollande for the Socialist nomination and was in the lead against Sarkozy for the presidency itself.