The Korea Herald


NY police question IMF head in hotel sex assault

By 이우영

Published : May 15, 2011 - 11:25

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IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, speaks during a news briefing at the 2010 WB/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington. (AP-Yonhap News) IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, speaks during a news briefing at the 2010 WB/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington. (AP-Yonhap News)

NEW YORK (AP) ― The leader of the International Monetary Fund and a possible candidate for president of France was pulled from an airplane moments before he was to fly to Paris and was being questioned Saturday by police in connection with the sexual assault of a hotel maid, police said.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken off the Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and turned over to police Saturday afternoon, said Paul J. Browne, New York Police Department spokesman.

He was being questioned by the NYPD special victims office. Strauss-Kahn had retained an attorney and was not making statements to the police, Browne said. No charges have yet been filed.

The 32-year-old woman told authorities that she entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square at about 1 p.m. Saturday and he emerged from the bedroom naked, threw her down and attacked her, Browne said.

She told authorities that he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him. She somehow broke free and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.

When New York City police detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his cellphone and other personal items, Browne said. “It looked like he got out of there in a hurry,” Browne said.

The NYPD discovered he was at the airport and contacted the Port Authority, who plucked Kahn from first class on the Air France flight that had not yet departed.

The maid was taken by police to an area hospital. John Sheehan, a spokesman for the hotel, said its staff was cooperating with the authorities in the investigation.

William Murray, a spokesman for the IMF in Washington, said the IMF had no immediate comment on the reports of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest. Strauss-Kahn’s offices in Paris couldn’t be reached when the news broke overnight in France, nor could French Socialist Party officials.

Strauss-Kahn took over as head of the IMF in November 2007. The 187-nation lending agency is headquartered in Washington and provides help in the form of emergency loans for countries facing severe financial problems.

Strauss-Kahn won praise for his leadership at the IMF during the financial crisis of 2008 and the severe global recession that followed.

More recently, he has directed the IMF’s participation in bailout efforts to keep a European debt crisis which began in Greece from destabilizing the global economy.

In October 2008, Strauss-Kahn issued an apology to the IMF staff after accusations that he had a sexual relationship with an IMF subordinate.
“While this incident constituted an error in judgment on my part, for which I take full responsibility, I firmly believe that I have not abused my position,” Strauss-Kahn wrote in an email to IMF staff.

The IMF board found his actions “regrettable” and said they “reflected a serious error of judgment.” The board found that the relationship was consensual.

The IMF employee left the fund and took a job with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Before taking the top post at the IMF, Strauss-Kahn had been a member of the French National Assembly and had also served as France’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry from June 1997 to November 1999.

He had been viewed as a leading contender to run on the Socialist Party’s ticket to challenge the re-election of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. 

Strauss-Kahn, dubbed “DSK” in France, was seen as the strongest possible challenger to Sarkozy in next year’s presidential elections. Strauss-Kahn has not declared his candidacy, staying vague in interviews while feeding speculation that he wants France’s top job. 

He was meant to be meeting in Berlin on Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about aid to debt-laden Greece, and then join EU finance ministers in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. The IMF is responsible for one-third of Greece’s existing loan package, and his expected presence at these meetings underlined the gravity of the Greek crisis. 

The arrest comes amid French media reports about Strauss-Kahn’s lifestyle, including luxury cars and suits, that some have dubbed a smear campaign. 

He sought the Socialist Party’s endorsement in the last elections, in 2007, but came in second in a primary to Segolene Royal. Royal, the first woman to get so close to France’s presidency, lost to Sarkozy in the runoff. 

After Sarkozy won, the new president championed Strauss-Kahn as a candidate to run the IMF. Sarkozy’s backers touted the move as a sign of the conservative president’s campaign of openness to leftists ― but political strategists saw it as a way for Sarkozy to get a potential challenger far away from the French limelight. 

The global financial crisis thrust Strauss-Kahn into an unexpectedly prominent role and boosted his global standing in time to consider a 2012 French presidential bid. 

He is credited with preparing France for the adoption of the euro by taming its deficit and persuading then-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to sign up to an EU pact of fiscal prudence. 

A former economics professor, Strauss-Kahn joined the Socialist party in 1976 and was elected to parliament in 1986 from the Val-d’Oise district, north of Paris. He went on to become mayor of Sarcelles, a working-class immigrant suburb of Paris. 

His first government post was industry minister under former President Francois Mitterrand. As finance minister, he reduced France’s debt repayments through a raft of privatizations including the sale of shares in France Telecom SA and Air France. 

Strauss-Kahn is a married father of four. His third wife, Anne Sinclair, is a New York-born journalist who hosted a popular weekly news broadcast in France in the 1980s.

<한글 기사> 

IMF 총재, 뉴욕서 성범죄 혐의 체포

국제통화기금(IMF)의 도미니크 스트로스-칸 총재가 14일(현지시각) 미국 뉴욕에서 성범죄 혐의로 체포됐다.

뉴욕경찰은 14일(현지시각) 스트로스-칸 총재가 이날 타임스 스퀘어의 한 호텔에서 객실 청소원에게 성범죄를 저지른 혐의로 JFK국제공항에서 체포됐으며, 현재 구금 상태로 성범죄 수사대의 조사를 받고 있다고 밝혔다.

경찰에 따르면 피해자라고 주장한 32세의 객실 여성 청소원은 이날 오후 1시께 스트로트-칸 총재가 머물던 방에 들어갔다가 옷을 입지 않은 채로 나타난 총재와 맞닥뜨렸으며, 총재가 자신을 넘어뜨리고 성폭행하려 했지만 가까스로 탈출했다고 증언했다.

뉴욕경찰의 폴 J.브라운 대변인은 호텔 직원의 신고를 받고 출동한 경찰이 도착 했을 때 스트로스-칸 총재는 이미 휴대전화와 소지품을 남기고 호텔을 나선 뒤였다며 그가 '서둘러' 현장을 떠난 것으로 보였다고 말했다.

이후 경찰의 요청을 받은 뉴욕.뉴저지항만관리청 직원들은 JFK공항에서 프랑스행 비행기에 탑승한 채 이륙을 기다리고 있는 스트로스-칸 총재를 체포해 경찰에 인계했다.

프랑스의 차기 대권주자로 부상한 스트로스-칸 총재는 지난 2008년 부하직원인 IMF 아프리카지부 당국자와 부적절한 관계를 맺었다는 의혹으로 IMF의 조사를 받은 바 있다.

한편 영국 일간 가디언은 스트로스-칸 총재가 자신이 고가의 주택과 미술품은 물론, 버락 오바마 미국 대통령의 재단사에게 수제 양복을 구입하는 등 사치스런 생 활을 하고 있다고 보도한 프랑스 신문을 상대로 소송을 제기했다고 보도했다.