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Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Prison ID

The former head of the International Monetary Fund had all but been anointed the next President of France when he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid at the Hotel Sofitel in Manhattan. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was hauled off an Air France (AF:FP) flight and promptly sent to Rikers Island. He vehemently denied the charges. An international circus ensued.

Strauss-Kahn’s wife, Anne Sinclair, posted his $1 million bail bond and put the former French Finance Minister up in a Tribeca mansion that normally rents for $50,000 a month. Another accuser charged DSK with attempted rape in France, and details emerged about an affair he’d had with an IMF subordinate, all while his reputation as a womanizer—and his oddly flexible marriage—came under further scrutiny. The charges in France were dropped due to statute of limitations. Meanwhile, a press war raged between Strauss-Kahn and his alleged Sofitel victim, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant named Nafissatou Diallo.

Then, almost as quickly as the case had erupted, it fell apart. It was clear that something unseemly had happened in Sofitel Room 2806, but prosecutors questioned Diallo’s story and credibility, suggesting she had misrepresented her past and associated with a convicted criminal. Suddenly, whether or not the economist had committed a crime was beside the point. All charges were dropped in August, and Strauss-Kahn returned to France. In November he announced he was suing French newspapers over reports claiming he was connected to an alleged prostitution ring.

Kolhatkar is a features editor and national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @Sheelahk.

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