Strauss-Kahn sex scandal talk of Cannes again

The sex scandal surrounding disgraced ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Thursday returned to Cannes as clips of an upcoming film about the affair leaked onto the Internet.

Strauss-Kahn was the talk of the festival two years ago when he was arrested in New York on sexual assault charges.

Within days of the scandal breaking, industry figures were eyeing the cinematic possibilities.

"Humanity, power, women, sex, money -- it's got it all," said Jean-Andre Yerles, co-president of the French Screenwriters' Guild, at the time.

Late on Wednesday, clips of "Welcome to New York" in which Gerard Depardieu plays the Socialist politician appeared on the Internet after a producer was seen showing them on a handheld computer.

British actress Jacqueline Bisset plays opposite Depardieu as Strauss-Kahn's wife Anne Sinclair in the movie, which is being shown to potential buyers but not the press at the Cannes Film Festival.

According to production company Wild Bunch, the images comprise "pre-sale material intended to be shown to potential foreign buyers".

However, according to journalists, a Wild Bunch producer was ween Wednesday in a Cannes restaurant showing the film on his tablet to an entourage.

Strauss-Kahn last December agreed a financial settlement with the hotel maid whose 2011 allegation of sexual assault forced him to resign from the International Monetary Fund.

He is still being investigated in France as part of a probe into allegations that he procured prostitutes for sex parties in Europe and in Washington.

Strauss-Kahn has also tried to ban a book titled "Beauty and the Beast" about his affair with the author Marcela Iacub. He says the work was "despicable and false" and wreaked "havoc" on his personal life.

A Paris court in February turned down his attempt to stop the book going on sale.

Every copy will, however, have to carry an insert, a move expected to delay the launch. Lawyers have not specified what they want it to say.

Strauss-Kahn's New York arrest ultimately destroyed his ambitions for the French presidency.

A gifted orator, fluent in English and German, the silver-haired high-flier had been seen as a likely challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.

Sinclair, Strauss-Kahn's fabulously rich wife of 20 years and one of France's best loved journalists, is said to have separated from him last summer.