PAST CONTROVERSY STRAUSS-KAHN HAS FACED CONTROVERSY BEFORE. IN OCTOBER 2008, HE APOLOGIZED FOR “AN ERROR OF JUDGMENT” FOR AN AFFAIR WITH A FEMALE IMF ECONOMIST WHO WAS HIS SUBORDINATE. AN INQUIRY CLEARED HIM OF HARASSMENT AND ABUSE OF POWER, ALTHOUGH HE WAS WARNED BY THE FUND’S BOARD OF MEMBER COUNTRIES AGAINST FURTHER IMPROPER CONDUCT.
Since taking over the IMF, he has won plaudits for putting the fund, the world’s main overseer of the global economic system, at the center of global efforts to cope with the financial meltdown of 2007-09.
The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been charged with sexual assault and attempted rape in New York following a complaint by a hotel chambermaid.
A police deputy spokesman, Ryan Sesa, told reporters on Sunday that the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn included “criminal sexual act, unlawful emprisonment, attempted rape” and “assaulting a 32-year-old girl in a hotel room”.
Strauss-Kahn, widely expected to run for the French presidency in 2012, was taken off the Air France flight at John F Kennedy International Airport by police officers on Saturday after the maid reported the case.
The maid told authorities that she entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square at about 1pm local time (1600 GMT) on Saturday.
According to the maid’s account, the IMF chief emerged from the bedroom naked, threw her down and tried to sexually assault her, Paul J Browne, a New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesman, said.
“The police investigators found his cell phone in the [hotel] room,” he said.
“There’re some more details coming out according to the chambermaid’s account, which is that she entered what she believed was his empty suite – Room 2286 – at the Sofitel Hotel, and he basically came out of the bathroom and grabbed her, locked the door and put her to the bed.
“She broke free – this is according to her account. She fought him off; then he dragged her again down the hallway to the bathroom where another, second, alleged sex assault occurred.”
It was not immediately clear if the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn had been planning to leave New York for France on Saturday afternoon, police said.
John Sheehan, a spokesman for the hotel, said its staff was co-operating with the authorities in the investigation.
The annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund was notable in marking the Fund’s effort to distance itself from its own long-standing tenets on capital controls and labour-market flexibility. It appears that a new IMF has gradually, and cautiously, emerged under the leadership of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.