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French minister resigns over sex case

world Updated: May 30, 2011 01:51 IST
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A French minister accused of sexual harassment resigned on Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced, two weeks after former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on sex crime charges.

Civil service minister Georges Tron, accused of sexually harassing staff at the town hall where he is mayor, said he will fight to prove his innocence.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they had launched a preliminary investigation into the charges of rape and sexual assault after two women alleged that he had attacked them between 2007 and 2010.

Tron, 53, is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party. Strauss-Kahn had been a leading presidential hopeful in next year’s elections for the rival Socialist Party.

A statement from Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s office noted Tron has denied the allegations and praised him for acting in the “general interest”.

The two women, aged 34 and 36, once worked at the town hall of Draveil, south of Paris, where Tron has long been mayor.

The women told newspaper Le Parisien that Tron assaulted them behind locked doors at the town hall.

“When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn’t have the right to keep quiet,” said the woman, who was not identified by name.