Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Sex assault charge for ‘Great Seducer’
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with attempting to rape a New York hotel maid in a scandal that upends his plans to run for president of France and throws leadership of the global lender into turmoil at the height of the European debt crisis.
The three criminal charges, filed yesterday just hours after the IMF boss was taken off a plane, shocked policymakers worldwide and left wide open next April’s French presidential election. Opinion polls had shown Strauss-Kahn the front-runner.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, spent the night in a New York City police cell in Harlem and was brought before a judge later yesterday. His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said he will plead not guilty.
A hotel maid, 32, alleged Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in his $3,000-a-night suite at the luxury Sofitel in Times Square on Saturday, police spokesman Paul Browne said. The IMF chief was charged with a criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted rape.
“She told detectives he came out of the bathroom naked, ran down a hallway to the foyer where she was, pulled her into a bedroom and began to sexually assault her, according to her account,” Browne said.
“She pulled away from him and he dragged her down a hallway into the bathroom where he engaged in a criminal sexual act, according to her account to detectives. He tried to lock her into the hotel room.”
Reason to worry?
A crisis of leadership at the Fund would especially worry European nations, given Strauss-Kahn’s central role in brokering bailouts for Iceland, Hungary, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
“The chances are the successor won’t be a European, and will want to rebalance the IMF’s priorities away from its massive commitment in Europe,” said Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of the Bruegel economic think tank.