Strauss-Kahn released as sex assault case looks close to collapsing

Prosecutors have agreed to release Dominique Strauss-Kahn (pictured) from house arrest on his own recognizance, Bloomberg News has reported.

The former IMF chief has been charged with sexually assaulting a maid in his Manhattan hotel room in May. But prosecutors said yesterday the case is near collapse, amid questions over the credibility of Strauss-Kahn's accuser.

The woman, a Guinean immigrant, is said to have repeatedly lied to investigators. Prosecutors claim that she's told investigators that she reported on her asylum application a gang rape in Guinea--and to have recounted the story to them--but the application includes no such story. She later admitted the story is false, prosecutors say.

She also told investigators she was subject to genital mutilation, but that claim, too, conflicts with the information in her application, prosecutors add.

Prosecutors also say that the woman also had a phone conversation the day after the encounter with a man in prison for dealing 400 pounds of marijuana, in which she discussed with him the benefits of pressing charges.

A lawyer for the woman didn't dispute those claims, but told the New York Times in an email: "Nothing changes one very important fact, namely, that Dominique Strauss-Kahn violently sexually assaulted the victim inside of that hotel room at the Sofitel."

Strauss-Kahn, who is 62 and married, has maintained that the sex was consensual. He was forced to resign his post as IMF chief in the wake of his arrest. Previously a frontrunner in the French presidential elections next year, his political future is now uncertain.