Ex-IMF chief gets bail

2011-05-20 09:06

New York/ Washington - Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will leave jail on bail on Friday under the shadow of sexual assault charges as another French official, Christine Lagarde, builds support to succeed him.

Strauss-Kahn, a global high-flier seen as having a strong shot at the French presidency until his arrest over the weekend, spent the last of four nights at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail on Thursday.

The package of conditions set by a judge on Thursday to let him leave jail - $1m cash bail, a $5m insurance bond and house arrest at a New York apartment under armed guard and electronic monitoring - was due to be signed on Friday.

In his letter resigning as the IMF chief, Strauss-Kahn vowed to fight charges he tried to rape a hotel maid and committed other sexual offenses against her.

Once out of the Rikers cell and in the apartment, he will have unlimited access to his lawyers to prepare his defence and will be joined by his wife and daughter.

Strauss-Kahn's resignation intensified a race for global finance's top job at a critical time for the IMF as it helps euro zone states such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal deal with massive debt problems.

Europe could retain post

The managing director post has traditionally gone to a European for 65 years but is now in the sights of fast-growing developing economies who argue it is time for a change.

John Lipsky, the IMF's American No 2 who is now the acting chief, said on Thursday members agreed "the process of selection of the managing director should be open, transparent and merit-based".

But a sense of inevitability was growing that Europe would retain the post. Lagarde, France's finance minister, was seen as the most likely choice.

While US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for an "open process that leads to a prompt succession", sources in Washington said the United States, the IMF's biggest financial contributor, would back a European.

The issue will probably be discussed at a summit of Group of Eight leaders in France next week. Together, the United States and European nations hold more than half of the IMF's voting power, giving them a big say over who leads it.

The IMF board was due to hold a regular meeting on Friday to approve its part of a €78bn bailout for Portugal but it was unclear whether it would discuss the process for choosing a new managing director.

Maid's 'unwavering' story

The case marks a spectacular fall for Strauss-Kahn, who was highly regarded for his part in tackling the global financial crisis of 2007-09 and the key role he was playing in efforts to manage Europe's debt crisis.

His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said at a hearing on Monday the evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter".

But prosecutor John McConnell said the maid who accuses Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea, had told a "compelling and unwavering story".

An arraignment hearing is set for June 6, when Strauss-Kahn will formally answer the charges, but a trial may be six months or more away. If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.

"I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," Strauss-Kahn wrote in his resignation letter.

A Reuters poll of economists showed 32 of 56 thought Lagarde was most likely to succeed Strauss-Kahn.

Lagarde declined to say whether she was interested in the post but told reporters: "Any candidacy, whichever it is, must come from Europeans jointly, all together."

Under scrutiny

A head of the US law firm Baker & McKenzie in Chicago before she joined the French government in 2005, Lagarde is a fluent English speaker and has experience balancing the demands of rich and developing countries.

But she is also under scrutiny.

Judges at a special French court are expected to decide in mid-June whether to order an inquiry after a public prosecutor recommended Lagarde be investigated over an arbitration case involving businessman and former politician Bernard Tapie.

The prime ministers of Italy and Luxembourg publicly backed Lagarde on Thursday. Diplomats in Europe and Washington said she also had support from France, Germany and Britain - the three biggest European economies.

China and Japan called for a transparent process to choose a successor on merit.

Russia and other ex-Soviet states backed the Kazakh central bank chief, Grigory Marchenko. Another possible candidate could be former Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, an economist with IMF experience.

But it was not clear whether emerging countries could unite behind a rival candidate.

  • GetitRight - 2011-05-20 09:22

    I rest my case : A 2010 book entitled Dsk : Les secrets d'un présidentiable (DSK:Secrets of a presidential contender) by an anonymous French author who goes by the pseudonym "Cassandre", alleges that IMF head and accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn raped a maid in a hotel in Mexico while on a business trip. According to records, Strauss-Kahn took a trip there in 2006 and again in 2010. The book, which came out almost exactly one year ago, caused a huge scandal in France as Strauss-Kahn is thought to be the country's leading contender to unseat current President Nicolas Sarkozy. Now that DSK stands accused of raping a hotel maid in New York City, the book is again climbing up the sales charts in France. "Cassandre" whose editor was interviewed in French tabloid Voici, claims to be a woman in DSK's most intimate political circle. Her identity has not been revealed. According to Cassandre, the assault case in Mexico was never pursued

  • Betsy - 2011-05-20 09:28

    If he wasn't so high profile these extreme bail conditions would not apply - an armed guard! Seriously OTT. Yes he should be punished but Joe Soap would not have been paraded around like a prize exhibit and would not have been subjected to such humiliating treatment. Innocent until proven guilty? Not a concept that applies in this case!

      ridgeback60 - 2011-05-20 13:07

      High-profile people are hungry for the fame, but are not prepared to clean up their acts while they hold the posts for which they are paid millions. Perverts do better when they have no image to uphold, and nothing to lose by their actions other than human-rights consequences. If people want to be seen as leaders, then they set the bar high up all by themselves, and need to be in line in all their actions. Horses for courses.

      GetitRight - 2011-05-21 05:55

      In discussing the presumption of innocence, we often forget that there are in fact two varieties: The first is a legal presumption of innocence, to which Strauss-Kahn, like everyone accused of a crime, is entitled; the second is a social presumption of innocence, which often results in the miscarriage of justice before the formal system has even been engaged. This social presumption of innocence is what leads some to convince themselves that the behavior they have witnessed or that they are aware of did not really take place, or means something different, because a person like Strauss-Kahn can not be capable of such a thing.

  • GetitRight - 2011-05-20 09:28

    Some would say "What a coincidence..."...Methinks more likely a HABITUAL egotistical, narcisstic OFFENDER thats preys on VUNERABLE women from THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

  • The Unknown - 2011-05-20 12:23

    He must chat with JZ who can give him advise as to how he can get off these charges. JZ is an expert on "porking" maids, and he's now the president

      GetitRight - 2011-05-20 13:12

      You may be right...but I think DSK can show JZ a whole lot more. Let's see whether DSK buys off the accuser(how do they say...settles), causes the accuser to disappear or just hires a private jet and flies out of the USA using his high profile associates.

  • pages:
  • 1