IMF head Strauss-Kahn pulled from plane, questioned by NY police over sex assault
2011 05 16

By Christine Kearney and John Irish | Reuters.com


IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged on Sunday with trying to rape a New York hotel maid in a scandal that appeared to wreck his hopes of becoming France’s next president.

The sexual assault charges throw the IMF into a leadership crisis just as it is trying to help ease an escalating euro zone debt crisis, and they turn France’s presidential election campaign upside down when polls had made Strauss-Kahn a clear front runner.

The charismatic 62-year-old, who led the International Monetary Fund through the 2007-09 global financial meltdown and has been central in galvanizing Europe to tackle its debt woes, for long had the reputation of a womanizer. But the charges he faces are in another realm.


A maid, 32, said he emerged naked from the bathroom and sexually assaulted her inside his $3,000-a-night suite at the Sofitel hotel in New York’s Times Square on Saturday afternoon. He was there on private business, the IMF said.


Video from: YouTube.com


Strauss-Kahn was expected to go before a state court later on Sunday. His lawyer said he will plead not guilty.

Police say he fled the hotel after the alleged assault and a few hours later they pulled him out of his first-class seat on an Air France plane 10 minutes before it was to take off for Paris.

He was charged with a criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted rape, moving him from luxurious hotel suite and a glittering public career to scandal and a bare holding cell in New York’s tough Harlem neighborhood in the space of a few hours.

The contrast could barely have been more dramatic. At the Sofitel, Strauss-Kahn’s suite had a conference room, living room, foyer, spacious marble bathroom and a bedroom with a sumptuous king-sized bed and feather and down duvet.

Police say Strauss-Kahn does not have diplomatic immunity from the charges, which if proven could carry a prison sentence of 15-20 years. They have collected DNA evidence from the hotel suite, The New York Times reported.


International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (2nd R) leaves New York Police Department Special Victims Unit headquarters in Harlem May 15, 2011. Strauss-Kahn was charged on Sunday with trying to rape a New York hotel maid in a scandal that appeared to wreck his hopes of becoming France’s next president.Photo: REUTERS / Allison Joyce

Strauss-Kahn has hired New York lawyer Benjamin Brafman, a seasoned defense attorney famed for striking deals or winning not-guilty verdicts for pop stars and a football player.

The IMF chief’s wife, well-known French television personality Anne Sinclair, jumped to her husband’s defense.

"I do not believe for a single second the accusations leveled against my husband," she said in a statement..

IMF CRISIS, ELECTION ’THUNDERBOLT’

The IMF tried to fill its leadership vacuum by naming its No. 2 official, John Lipsky, as acting managing director. But the charges against Strauss-Kahn are a huge embarrassment for an institution that oversees the global economic system and has authorized hundreds of billions of dollars of lending to troubled countries as well as playing a major role in the euro-zone debt crisis.

The allegations immediately threw France’s presidential race wide open.

He had not yet declared his candidacy but Strauss-Kahn was widely expected to run for the Socialist Party and early opinion polls showed him with a big lead over the conservative incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking a second term at the election next April.

"The news we received from New York last night struck like a thunderbolt," said Socialist leader Martine Aubry, appealing for party unity.

France’s government as well as Strauss-Kahn’s political allies and rivals called for caution and respect for the presumption of innocence, but his presidential ambitions appeared to be dead in the water unless the case against him quickly unravels and he is shown to be innocent.

"All this is completely astounding, immensely troubling and distressing. If the facts prove true ... it’s something degrading for all women. It’s terrible for the image of France," said Francois Bayrou, a centrist opponent.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said her rival’s presidential hopes had been crushed.

Christine Boutin, president of the Christian Democrat Party, suggested Strauss-Kahn may have been set up.

"I think it’s very likely a trap was set for Dominique Strauss-Kahn and he fell into it," she told France’s BFM television. "It’s a political bomb for domestic politics."

French voters are famously tolerant of political leaders’ extra-marital affairs but the allegations against Strauss-Kahn are entirely different, and much more serious.

If they are proven, Strauss-Kahn’s fall from power in a scandal would be one of the most dramatic of any high-profile international figure in decades.

[...]

Read the full article at: reuters.com




Related Articles
IMF Bombshell: Age of America Ends, China Take Over in 2016
IMF Bombshell: "Age of America Nears End"
Libya holding huge gold reserves IMF data shows
IMF warns over parallels to Great Depression
UN slams US Dollar, looks to replace it with IMF ’virtual’ currency
Poland no longer needs IMF credit line (This was before the Polish plane crash - what will happen next?)
Immunity defense would be hard for Strauss-Kahn
Strauss-Kahn Alibi Revealed, Defense Team Prepares


Latest News from our Front Page

EU on high alert as Germany accepts Ebola patients
2014 07 30
A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic. A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche ...
Bolivia declares Israel terrorist regime
2014 07 30
Bolivia has declared Israel a “terrorist state” and revoked a visa exemption agreement with Tel Aviv in protest at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. The move "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," President Evo Morales said during talks with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba ...
Pagan Traditions: Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England’s churches
2014 07 30
Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and "demon traps" have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages? A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England. Armed with just a torch and a ...
More Gigantic Holes Appear in Siberia’s ’End of the World’
2014 07 30
Is it the end of the world in Siberia’s ’End of the World’? Scientists suspect not, but they’re still investigating the strange and alarming holes that are swallowing up the Siberian north. This week two new holes have been discovered, and with similar characteristics as the first reported hole: a very deep shaft with smooth sides, debris surrounding the rim, and water ...
BLACKLISTED: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
2014 07 30
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, ...
More News »