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Strauss-Kahn this month also gave a rare magazine interview to France’s “Le Point”, which photographed him relaxing at his new apartment in Paris’s Montparnasse district with a tablet computer in his hand.
It was a stark contrast to the image the world watched on TV in May 2011, as he trudged handcuffed and haggard to a U.S. courthouse to be jailed briefly on criminal charges, later dropped, of trying to rape hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.
But the potential pitfalls that lie ahead were illustrated in March when police had to bundle him into a getaway car as protesting students clashed with security guards after he gave a speech on the world economy at Britain’s Cambridge University.
The case will hang over for him for some time yet; though New York prosecutors dropped the charges on the grounds that Diallo was not a reliable witness, the date of her civil suit has yet to be determined.
And in France, a court will rule on Nov. 28 whether to pursue a judicial investigation into a prostitution ring in which he was allegedly involved. He says he has done nothing illegal and is being pursued because of his libertine lifestyle.
Yet if Strauss-Kahn can put those cases behind him, Cohen said time would work in his favour and pointed to other big names on the conference circuit who overcame image problems.
Clinton, who survived sex scandals and an impeachment trial in the late 1990s, now makes millions of dollars a year attending high-profile events.
According to financial declarations his wife Hillary Clinton makes as U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton charged $750,000 for addressing a telecoms event in Hong Kong, and $500,000 for his presence at an Abu Dhabi conference on environmental data.
EURO ZONE PROBLEM SOLVER?
Sylvie Audibert, a Paris-based consultant who coaches corporate executives on topics from stress management to life-makeover decisions, said Europe’s economic crisis could give Strauss-Kahn a perfect forum to use his talents.
He recently floated an idea under which Germany and France, which are enjoying low borrowing costs as investors see their debt as safe, devote some of their savings to helping weaker countries in the euro zone.
The idea has generated little visible interest, apart from a blog mention by former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton. Greek government sources have also quashed rumours that he is advising Athens over their debt troubles.
But Audibert said that like others who have held frontline posts in politics and global economic management, Strauss-Kahn may still harbour hopes of one day taking up a public policy role, perhaps at European level.
“We’re talking about people with very big egos and very big ambitions,” Audibert said. “I am not convinced his ultimate goal is to remain the adviser in the shadows.”
Strauss-Kahn himself hinted at his longer-term ambitions in his interview with Le Point.
“I sense a possibility of investing myself in big international projects … For the moment, my situation stands in the way.”