IMF Chief Faces 20 Years of Jail Time

World | May 16, 2011, Monday // 09:07|  views

The Director General of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been taken out in handcuffs from the special police unit for sexual harassment in New York's Harlem. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Director of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been taken out in handcuffs from the special police unit for sexual harassment in New York's Harlem.

The 62-year-old was kept there overnight, but was taken out to undergo a number of tests.

Strauss-Kahn had been due to appear in court on Sunday but the hearing has been postponed until 10:30 am (local time, 5:30 pm Bulgarian time) Monday to allow the forensic tests to be carried out.

The IMF Chief is charged with "criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment, and attempted rape." He faces 20 years behind bars if convicted.

He had consented to a medical examination over allegations of serious sexual assault.

Police say the 32-year-old woman who made the allegations has formally identified him in a line-up.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested Saturday at New York's JFK airport while attempting to leave the country on an Air France plane. He denies attacking and wanting to rape a hotel maid.

The IMF Head is believed to have been in New York on personal business and does not have diplomatic immunity.

BBC cites lawyer William Taylor, speaking outside court in Manhattan, saying Strauss-Kahn had "willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination," adding that he was "tired but fine".

A second lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, stated his client "intends to vigorously defend these charges and he denies any wrongdoing".

On Sunday, Strauss-Kahn's wife, prominent French journalist Anne Sinclair, also said she believes he is innocent.

"I do not believe for one second the accusations brought against my husband," she stressed.

The former French Finance Minister was scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday in Berlin and then attend an EU finance ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday on bailouts for Portugal and Greece.

He has been considered central to efforts to stabilize the finances of struggling Eurozone member states and his detention is likely to complicate the process.

Meanwhile, the Euro fell half a cent to USD 1.4063 when Asian markets opened on Monday - a six-week low against the dollar - reflecting concerns about the impact the arrest could have on bailouts plans for Portugal and Greece.

BBC correspondent David Chazan reports there has been a mixed reaction to the arrest in France, with some people seeing it as a national humiliation but others suggesting that he might have been set up by his political opponents. However, there is little doubt in France that Strauss-Kahn's political ambitions are now over.

The IMF Chief was widely expected to announce his intention to run for the French presidency, and political experts believed he had a strong chance of defeating current President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Strauss-Kahn has won praise for his leadership of the IMF in times of the global financial crisis.

In 2008, he was critiqued by the IMF board for an affair with a subordinate member of staff. The board said the affair had been consensual but reflected a "serious error of judgment".

John Lipsky has been appointed acting managing director of the IMF in his absence.

The IMF Director of External Relations, Caroline Atkinson, announced the organization remained "fully functioning and operational".

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: Socialist Party, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF, International Monetary Fund, New York, France, Nicolas Sakrozy, sexual assault, sex attack, Anne Sinclair


» Related Articles: