Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces a potential new sexual assault investigation on Tuesday when a young French writer plans to formally accuse him of trying to rape her during a 2002 book interview a dizzying turn of events just as the former IMF chief's fortunes seemed to be growing brighter.
With France debating his possible return to presidential politics, Strauss-Kahn swiftly hit back at author Tristane Banon's plans to take him to court, labeling her account "imaginary" and countering with his own plans to file a criminal complaint of slander.
The sordid exchange may have deep ramifications for the 2012 presidential race in France, where the surprise weakening of the sexual assault case against Strauss-Kahn in New York last week sparked a fierce debate about whether he should return to politics if the American case against him collapses completely.
Before Banon's announcement, polls showed voters were evenly split about whether Strauss-Kahn, 62, should try to revive a career that until recently had him on track to take on conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in the race to be France's next leader.
"DSK Back?" the left-leaning daily Liberation asked on its front page on Monday.