Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he doesn't have "any kind of problems with women," in an interview that aired Wednesday on CNN, two years after the sex scandal that lost him his job and his presidential aspirations.
The French politician was arrested in May 2011 after a New York City hotel maid accused him of sexually assaulting her, charges that were later dropped.
He later reached an undisclosed financial settlement with his accuser -- reportedly in excess of $1.5 million -- to end a parallel civil case.
In the wake of the arrest, several other sex scandals emerged, including accusations of rape and pimping, but he was never convicted.
"I dont think I have any kind of problems with women," Strauss-Kahn, in Paris, told CNN in his first English-language interview since he was forced to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund after the New York charges emerged.
The scandal also crushed his aspirations to run for the French presidency in 2012.
But, the former official said, "I certainly have a problem with understanding that what is expected from a politician of the highest level is different from what can do Mr. Smith in the street."
"I had in mind that I had my private life," he explained, "and that I could do what I want as long as nobody was hurt or some legal problem appeared."
"Something happened which is a private thing, and I still think that what happened in the room is a private thing, unless the prosecutors find something to tell you that you are going to be charged for something and they have proof of that," he said.
But when prosecutors say, "'okay, finally we don't have enough to charge you,' then it means that it's a private thing, and nobody has to say anything about it," he lamented.
Strauss-Kahn said he had been ready to go to trial in the civil case, but was advised by his lawyers not to do so.
"My lawyers told me, 'okay, it's gonna take four years, and it will cost you more in legal fees than you will have to pay, even if you win, so you better pay off,' so i decided to settle and go on with my life," he said.
In extracts from the interview aired Tuesday, the ex-official recalled the "terrible" moment, two years ago, when he was paraded before TV cameras in New York in handcuffs, "as if you were a criminal -- at the moment where nobody knows if it is true or not."
© AFP 2013