But the shock of seeing press photos of “their Dominique” in handcuffs had people going back and reviewing the past, checking for any signs that could have presaged something like this. “Let’s face it, the erotic esthetic of Eyes Wide Shut is Dominique’s preferred universe,” says a former female colleague, referring to the Stanley Kubrick film. DSK advisor Nina Mitz remembers his enthusiasm for The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s best-selling novel: he loved the encrypted messages, the machinations, the occult rituals, and the liberties taken with Christian morality, she says.

A former colleague remembers an argument he had with DSK. He was incensed that his boss could pursue a libertine lifestyle yet envisage running for president. In 2003, Le Nouvel Observateur reported that a nameless “government minister” had been spotted at a swingers’ soirée. Worried, he confronted DSK with this, pointing to the need for caution and advising him to tone it down. “You’re just saying that because you’re jealous,” he reports DSK as having replied in an untroubled tone of voice. Strauss-Kahn would later tell the French newspaper La Libération: “For years, there have been rumors of giant orgies. But I’ve yet to see anything in the media about that…”