LOS ANGELES, OCT. 26 -- The Guinean ambassador to the United States, Moussa Sangare, was charged Thursday with sexual battery and false imprisonment for allegedly attacking a maid last month at the Biltmore Hotel here, city prosecutors said.

The two misdemeanor charges together carry a maximum of 18 months in jail and a $3,000 fine upon conviction.

"The story is without foundation," said Sangare, a veteran of his country's diplomatic corps, when reached Thursday night at his home in Washington. "The woman imagined the whole thing."

The maid told police the day after the alleged attack that she was "scared" and did not want to lose her job, but that Sangare's actions "were not right," reports show.

A State Department official said, "We have no comment on the specific allegations in the case. In every case in which a person with diplomatic immunity is accused of committing a crime in the United States, the department asks the person's government to waive his or her immunity so that the charges may be ajudicated by our courts. We intend to follow this procedure in this case."

The alleged incident occurred Sept. 4, the same day that Sangare and other ambassadors had breakfast at the Biltmore with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.