IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with attacking and attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York. Police were looking for any evidence of his alleged assault at the Sofitel hotel.
The 32-year-old woman who made the allegations has formally identified him in a line-up, police said and on Sunday Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, underwent medical examinations.
He had been scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday in Berlin and then attend an EU finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss the Greek and Portuguese bailouts.
The IMF is based in Washington DC but Mr Strauss-Kahn have been in New York on personal business. He was staying in a hotel suite which costs $3,000 a night.
“He intends to vigorously defend these charges and he denies any wrongdoing,” lawyer Benjamin Brafman said.
Mr Strauss-Kahn was considered a frontrunner to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency next year.
Politicians from all parties said Strauss-Kahn, popularly known by his initials DSK, should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Socialist party president Martine Aubry (Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the member of this party) described his arrest as a “thunderbolt” and Mr Strauss-Kahn’s wife, French TV personality Anne Sinclair, has also protested his innocence.
” The first reaction of many ordinary French people is that this has got to be a put-up job. That says more about French political culture, that there have been so many operations mounted against politicians. It has been full of dirty tricks in the past. But this changes everything. There’s a lingering hope among some of Mr Strauss-Kahn’s supporters that somehow this will be explained away”, the analytic said.
The Euro fell half a cent to $1.4063 when Asian markets opened on Monday, reflecting concerns about the impact the arrest could have on bail-outs plans for Portugal and Greece.
The European Commission said the case should have no impact on plans by the European Union and IMF to rescue distressed eurozone economies.
Mr Strauss-Kahn’s depty, John Lipsky, has been appointed acting managing director of the IMF in his absence.
” Even if he emerges clean from this affair a number of the IMF stakeholder countries may judge that he is no longer fit for purpose…
For example, there is no one today in the IMF with the political stature of Strauss-Kahn capable of going head-to-head with [Chancellor] Angela Merkel, in German, to tell her that Germany must do more to save the eurozone and the indebted countries on its periphery…
Whether DSK resigns or is made to understand that current circumstances make that necessary, international negotiations ought to begin to replace him. The emerging nations think now, for the first time, that one of their people should get the job – a job until now reserved for a European”, the french newspaper Le Figaro wrote about this case.
” The Strauss-Kahn affair throws next year’s presidential race wide open. As an exponent of intelligently managed capitalism, free markets and economic reform, Mr Strauss-Kahn has no equal in France’s opposition Socialist Party. But now it is almost inconceivable that he will throw his hat into the ring.
As for Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right president, his re-election remains anything but certain. Recent surveys indicate that the far right’s Marine Le Pen may beat Mr Sarkozy in the election’s first round next April and eliminate him from the two-candidate run-off. If one effect of the Strauss-Kahn affair is to enhance Ms Le Pen’s prospects at the expense of mainstream candidates, it will be a black day for democracy in France”, Financial Times (UK) said.