Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn made a successful return to the international speech circuit on Wednesday, delivering a lecture in the Ukrainian capital Kiev without facing tough questions or public protests.
Since he was accused of attempted rape in the United States last year, Strauss-Kahn has kept a low profile. Those charges were eventually dismissed but forced him to resign from the IMF and kept him out of the French presidential campaign.
He tried to return to the public lecture circuit last month, but was questioned on the rape case when he spoke at Britain's Cambridge University and had to be bundled into the back of a police car to escape angry protesters afterwards.
Strauss-Kahn then cancelled a planned appearance at a European Parliament debate on the financial crisis after several MEPs objected to his participation.
His lecture in Ukraine, organised by local billionaire businessman Viktor Pinchuk's charitable foundation, was carefully arranged in order to avoid embarrassment.
Security was tight to filter out uninvited guests and journalists were not allowed to ask questions, a privilege reserved for local businessmen and politicians as well as students, many of whom were on Pinchuk's fellowships.
Mr Strauss-Kahn's contribution to the understanding and handling of the 2008 financial crisis is quite significant, and it is a great opportunity for the students and decision makers of our country to tackle current issues with him, Pinchuk said in a statement.
Strauss-Kahn spoke about his vision of the future of the global economy and said European leaders needed to move quickly to resolve the euro zone's issues or face its breakdown.
When asked about the French presidential race, he only remarked that the key candidates' ideas about the role of the government did not differ as much as those of the frontrunners of the presidential campaign in the United States.
The French tradition is not to talk about (domestic) elections abroad, he said.
New York prosecutors dismissed charges of attempted rape and sexual assault against Strauss-Kahn last August, due to concerns about the credibility of his accuser, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.
Diallo is now pursuing civil claims against Strauss-Kahn in New York while law enforcers in France are investigating allegations that the 62-year-old economist participated in pimping.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)