IMF chief charged over ‘sexual assault’


International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested at a New York airport on Sunday on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, global media reported.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy Internation Airport onboard a plane to Paris, just 10 minutes before takeoff. He is charged with attempting to rape a maid at the Sofitel hotel near Manhattan’s Times Square.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer said he denies the charges.

The married former French finance minister has topped recent opinion polls as a potential Socialist Party candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.

French politicians and political experts said on Sunday today’s news may prevent him from running.

The 32-year-old maid told police shortly after the incident that she was attacked by Strauss-Kahn when she entered his room to clean it.

Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel when the police arrived, leaving behind his mobile phone and other personal items.

French Government Spokesman Francois Baruan called on his nation to respect Strauss-Kahn’s plea of innocence.

Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry told journalists on Sunday that the news had left her “astounded.”

In 2008 Strauss-Kahn was investigated by the IMF over his relations with a female member of staff. A board ruled that the relations had been consensual.

PARIS, May 15 (RIA Novosti)

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