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U.S. Congress ends 5-year standoff on trade deals BY BINYAMIN APPELBAUM AND JENNIFER STEINHAUER New York Times Service


Writer Tristane Banon, above, had claimed that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her.

Prosecutors in France drop rape case against Strauss-Kahn PARIS — (AP) — The Paris prosecutor’s office on Thursday dropped its investigation into a writer’s claim that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her, though it said the former IMF chief admitted to behavior that could qualify as sexual assault. In a dramatic legal twist for the high-profile Strauss-Kahn, the prosecutor said it couldn’t put StraussKahn on trial for the lesser sexual assault charge because the incident occurred too long ago. The statute of limitations on that charge is three years; on attempted rape it’s 10 years. During questioning into the French case, Strauss-Kahn admitted to what prosecutors described in a statement as sexual assault against writer Tristane Banon, during a 2003 interview for a book she was writing. “For lack of sufficient elements of evidence, prosecution cannot be undertaken on the charge of attempted rape,” the prosecutor’s office said. However, it said, “facts that could be qualified as sexual assault have been acknowledged.” Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Henri Leclerc, told The Associated Press that the former IMF chief admitted that he tried to kiss Banon without her consent and she refused. “He admitted no assault, no violence of any kind,” Leclerc said. He said he didn’t understand how the prosecutor could have interpreted the attempted kiss as sexual assault. Under French law, sexual assault is an attack that does not involve an attempt to penetrate the victim. • TURN TO STRAUSS-KAHN, 2A

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congress passed three long-awaited free trade agreements, ending a political standoff that has stretched across two presidencies. The move offered a rare moment of bipartisan accord at a time when Republicans and Democrats are bitterly divided over the role that government ought to play in reviving the sputtering economy. The approval of the deals Wednesday with South Korea, Colombia and Panama is a victory

for U.S. President Barack Obama and proponents of the view that foreign trade can drive U.S. economic growth in the face of rising protectionist sentiment in both political parties. They are the first trade agreements to pass Congress since Democrats broke a decade of Republican control in 2007. All three agreements cleared both chambers with overwhelming Republican support just one day after Senate Republicans prevented action on Obama’s jobs bill. The passage of the trade deals is important primarily as a political

achievement, and for its foreign policy value in solidifying relationships with strategic allies. The economic benefits are projected to be small. A federal agency estimated in 2007 that the impact on employment would be “negligible” and that the deals would increase gross domestic product by about $14.4 billion, or roughly 0.1 percent. The House voted to pass the Colombia measure, the most controversial of the three deals because of concerns about the treatment of unions in that country, 262 to 167; the Panama measure passed

300 to 129, and the agreement concerning South Korea passed 278 to 151. The votes reflected a clear partisan divide, with many Democrats voting against the president. In the Senate, the Colombia measure passed 66 to 33, the Panama bill succeeded 77 to 22 and the South Korea measure passed 83 to 15. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, voted against all three measures. The House also passed a measure to expand a benefits program for workers who lose jobs to • TURN TO TRADE DEALS, 2A

Mexico seen as unlikely launching pad for Iranian plot

DEALING WITH DUVALIERISTS Haiti government’s links to old regime prompt scrutiny BY TRENTON DANIEL Associated Press


McClatchy News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Back from exile, former strongman Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier lives in a villa in the hills above Haiti’s capital. His son serves as a consultant to the country’s new president, Michel Martelly, while others with links to Duvalier’s hated and feared regime work for the administration. Duvalier himself is rumored to be ill and appears too frail to return to power. But for many Haitians who remember the former dictator’s brutal rule, the rise of his loyalists to the new president’s inner circle triggers suspicions about where Martelly’s loyalties lie. Such developments might be shrugged off in many countries, but not in Haiti, where much of the political establishment for the past 15 years has consisted of people associated with the mass uprising that forced “Baby Doc” to flee the country for France in 1986. Now, a former minister and ambassador under the regime is serving as a close advisor to Martelly. And at least five high-ranking members of the administration, including the new prime minister, are the children of senior dictatorship officials. Sen. Moise Jean-Charles said he and others who lived through those years are uneasy that Duvalierists are aligned with a president with

MEXICO CITY — The alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States has cast Mexico into the news as a potential staging area for a terrorist operation. But experts say the likelihood of such a plot going undetected in Mexico by U.S. authorities is low and that Mexico’s drug cartels would be unlikely to become involved in such a plot. U.S. officials alleged this week that an Iranian-American and a member of Iran’s Quds Force sought to enlist a Mexican drug cartel in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel Al Jubeir in Washington, perhaps by bombing a restaurant he was known to frequent. One of the men, Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, a naturalized U.S. citizen holding Iranian and U.S. passports, was said to have met in the Mexican border city of Reynosa with a Drug Enforcement Administration informant who he thought was a member of a violent drug cartel. The barrage of 251,287 unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks released more than a month ago suggest that U.S. diplomats maintain a steady focus on Iran’s activities in Latin America. In Mexico, that meant keeping an eye on a mosque in Torreon, watching the impact of Iran’s “dynamic” new ambassador, gauging public attitudes toward Iran and coaching agents at Mexico’s National Security and Investigation Center — CISEN in its Spanish initials — the domestic intelligence agency.



Former Haitian strongman Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier at his house in Port-au-Prince.


Hedge fund founder gets 11-year term in insider trading case “We can only hope that this case will be the wake-up call we said it The fallen hedge fund billionaire should be when Mr. Rajaratnam was Raj Rajaratnam received the longest arrested,” Preet Bharara, the United prison sentence on record for insid- States attorney for Manhattan, said er trading on Thursday, a watershed Former moment in the government’s agchief of gressive two-year campaign to root out the illegal exchange of confiden- Galleon, Raj Rajaratnam, tial information on Wall Street. Judge Richard J. Holwell senleft, leaves tenced Rajaratnam, the former head the federal of the Galleon Group hedge fund, court in to 11 years in prison. Rajaratnam New York was also fined $10 million. A jury with his convicted him of securities fraud lawyers and conspiracy in May after a twoThursday. month trial. Calling him “the modern face of illegal insider trading,” prosecutors accused Rajaratnam of using a corrupt network of well-placed tipsters — including former executives of Intel, IBM and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company — to illicitly RICK MAIMAN/ gain about $64 million. BLOOMBERG NEWS


New York Times Service



in a statement. “Privileged professionals do not get a free pass to pursue profit through corrupt means.” As Judge Holwell read his sentence in a packed courtroom, Raja-


ratnam stood stone-faced. His wife, who did not attend any of the trial proceedings, also showed no emotion. Their three daughters did not attend the sentencing. Rajaratnam, 54, who did not testify during his trial, did not speak in the courtroom. The 11-year sentence was significantly lower than the range of roughly 19 to 24 years requested by the government. Judge Holwell cited Rajaratnam’s charitable works and his medical problems as reasons to give him a shorter sentence than prosecutors had requested. The judge said Rajaratnam had advanced diabetes that was leading to kidney failure. Defense lawyers requested that their client to be sent to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., part of the federal prison complex where Bernard L. Madoff is serving 150 years for cheating investors. Rajaratnam’s prison sentence


continues a trend of ever-stiffer penalties against white-collar criminals. Legal experts say the increased prison terms are in part a result of federal sentencing guidelines passed in 1987 that link the length of a sentence to the dollar amount involved in the fraud. Historically, judges showed leniency when penalizing corporate criminals because they were not seen as a threat to society and they might have empathized with people who often came from similar stations as themselves. But gone, for the most part, are the days of slapon-the-wrist sentences and “country club” prisons where white-collar defendants would serve short stints in relatively comfortable quarters. Corporate wrongdoers have received record-length sentences in recent years. In addition to Madoff, Lee B. Farkas, a former mortgage • TURN TO RAJARATNAM, 2A

INDEX THE AMERICAS ...........4A OPINION ........................7A ACCENT .........................5B COMICS & PUZZLES ...6B





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