Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn told police he made a pass at a young author in 2003 but denied her claim that he tried to rape her, a source close to the inquiry told AFP on Friday.
The 62-year-old Socialist politician, who returned to France this month after the collapse of another rape investigation against him in New York, was interviewed by French police on Tuesday over the allegations.
According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Strauss-Kahn denied the claim by 32-year-old writer Tristane Banon, that he assaulted and tried to rape her during an interview in a Paris flat in 2003.
"But he conceded that he had made advances to her, without being very precise about the nature of these advances," he told AFP.
According to a report on the news website lexpress.fr, Strauss-Kahn admitted he tried to kiss Banon, but when she refused he did not insist.
Banon has previously said that the portly economist grabbed her "like a rutting chimpanzee", wrestled with her on the floor and tried to take her jeans off, forcing her to kick and punch him to escape.
She had spoken of the alleged attack on television in 2007, but only pressed charges this year after Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York and accused of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid.
That case was thrown out after the prosecutor lost confidence in the alleged victim's testimony, but Strauss-Kahn still faces investigation in France over the Banon case.
He has denied any wrongdoing and lodged a countersuit for defamation.