Paris would back IMF chief if he wants French jail

Paris would back IMF chief if he wants French jail

Interior Minister Claude Gueant said he was not prejudging the outcome of the sensational court case, in which former presidential hopeful Strauss-Kahn is accused of a May 14 sex attack on a New York hotel chamber maid.

But if Strauss-Kahn is found guilty, and if he himself would rather serve time in a French jail than an American one, Paris would back any transfer request he made to the US authorities, Gueant told Europe 1 radio.

"The convicted party would have to agree and the two countries would have to agree, notably the country that carries out the conviction, which obviously is always very careful about receiving guarantees he would complete his term."

Prosecutors insisted on tough bail terms for the 62-year-old former director of the International Monetary Fund, fearing he would flee home to France, which has no agreement to extradite citizens facing trial in the United States.

But, Gueant recalled, the two countries do have a convention under which convicts can sometimes be transferred to prisons in their homeland so that family members can visit them more easily.