IMF head charged over alleged attempted rape

The French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn denies the allegations.

NEW YORK – The head of the International Monetary Fund was arrested early Sunday in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a New York hotel housekeeping employee, police said, according to CNN. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, has been charged with criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment, his attorney Benjamin Brafman said in an e-mail early Sunday. New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said detectives formally arrested Strauss-Kahn at 2:15 a.m. Police pulled Strauss-Kahn off an Air France flight destined for Paris at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday after the alleged incident, according to Browne.  He was taken into custody and brought to a Manhattan police station for questioning.  The IMF boss denies the allegations and his lawyer made it clear he will plead not guilty to any charges resulting from his arrest.

Martine Aubry, leader of France’s Socialist Party, described news of his arrest as a “thunderbolt” which left her “astounded”, the BBC reported. Strauss-Kahn was expected to appear before a New York state court later on Sunday.
He had been scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, but that meeting has now been cancelled. On Monday he had planned to attend a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Monday to discuss the bailouts of Portugal and Greece.

Correspondents say his detention is likely to complicate ongoing efforts to stabilise the finances of struggling eurozone members.

While Strauss-Kahn hadn’t officially entered the race, recent French opinion polls showed him leading prospective Socialist Party presidential candidates.  Strauss-Kahn ran for leadership of the French Socialist Party in 2006 but lost to Segolene Royale. He was appointed managing director of the IMF the following year. Strauss-Kahn has won praise for his stewardship of the IMF, which he has guided through difficult times including the recent world financial crisis. But in 2008 he was investigated by the IMF board over his relationship with a female member of his staff.  The physical relationship was consensual, an independent inquiry found. The world body’s executive board concluded in October 2008 that “there was no harassment, favoritism or any other abuse of authority by the managing director.”


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