Monday, May 16, 2011

BOOST O2 | LIFE | > Seduced with words > Dominique Strauss-Kahn > Charges Update (videos)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn (file pic)

Revered for his economic acumen and admired for his political nous and powers of persuasion, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has made a name for himself in the grandest salons of international finance.

Once an academic, once a French finance minister, the 62-year-old head of the International Monetary Fund was described as charming and witty by those who studied and worked with him.
His appointment as IMF chief in 2007 came a year before the descent into global financial crisis heralded an unprecedented period of instability.
Since then he was widely credited with transforming the US-based IMF into a key player in the unfolding financial and economic turmoil back in Europe.
With eurozone members struggling to agree on the best way to fix the damage - and limit the contagion - from the crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, the IMF, and Mr Strauss-Kahn, had come to the fore.
Given his high profile, Mr Strauss-Kahn had come to be seen as a realistic and popular potential challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency in 2012.
But charges of attempted rape in a New York hotel have brought all that to a halt, for now.

Born in 1949 to left-wing Jewish parents, Mr Strauss-Kahn spent his early years in Morocco, leaving with his family after a devastating earthquake in 1960.

  • Born 25 April 1949 in Paris
  • Attended France's prestigious Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po)
  • Becomes finance minister in 1997
  • Loses bid for Socialist Party presidential candidacy to Segolene Royal in 2006
  • Selected IMF head in 2007
He studied law and economics in Paris during and after the famed protests of 1968, eventually becoming an academic known for his diligence and professionalism at the University of Nancy and, later, the University of Paris.
His economics emphasised the practical, overlooking the most radical ideas of the Vietnam student movement while sympathising with the anti-war aims.
In person, Mr Strauss-Kahn also confounded the expectations of those who saw academics as fusty, bookish sorts.
His easy charm won him fans on the lecture circuit, and his reputation for good looks and a way with words followed him around for most of his career.

The man is an absolutely brilliant political operator”
Simon Johnson Former IMF official
"He seduced with words," one French journalist told the BBC earlier this year.
In politics, though, Dominique Strauss-Kahn seemed prepared to work for his rewards, taking up a seat in France's National Assembly for the town of Sarcelles, just outside Paris.
His work in Sarcelles, described as a "challenging" town, won him social credibility.
After a stint as industry minister he was appointed finance minister in Lionel Jospin's Socialist government in 1998, responsible for steering France towards the era of the euro.
Controversy forced him from office by 2000, though, as he faced accusations - of which he eventually cleared - of corruption and financial scandal.
Checkmate? He sought national prominence again in 2006 but lost out to Segolene Royal in the battle to become the Socialist Party candidate for president.
When he re-emerged in 2007 as the new man at the helm of the IMF, Mr Strauss-Kahn's reputation as a ladies' man was not far behind him.
In 2008 he was censured by the organisation when he was found to have had an affair with a Hungarian economist.
She left the IMF but Mr Strauss-Kahn stayed on, and stayed married to his wife, the American-French journalist Anne Sinclair, whom he wed in 1991.
Asked about his personal life, those who know Mr Strauss-Kahn - nicknamed Chaud Lapin (literally Hot Rabbit) by some - suggest that he may have benefited from the traditional French reluctance to probe the private lives of public figures.
He continued to win praise at the IMF, with one colleague who recently left the organisation comparing his political skill to that of a "top-level chess player".
"The man is an absolutely brilliant political operator," Simon Johnson said in a recent BBC profile of Mr Strauss-Kahn.
Now facing charges of alleged rape, criminal sexual assault and attempted imprisonment in the New York courts, Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces his biggest challenge yet - to clear his name.


Strauss-Kahn arrest: IMF head denied sex charges bail


At the scene

On a rain-soaked Monday morning, the pavements outside the courthouse were blocked by reporters and cameras all waiting to catch a glimpse of this particularly high-profile defendant.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was brought from a holding cell to the courtroom looking pensive in a black overcoat. Cameramen and photographers jostled to try to capture an image of the IMF head and French presidential hopeful.
But instead it was his New York lawyer who spoke to the waiting media after the judge said Mr Strauss-Kahn must remain in jail. Benjamin Brafman is well-known in legal circles in the US. His past clients have included other famous figures such as Michael Jackson and Sean P Diddy.
When Mr Brafman emerged he told reporters that the battle had only just begun.
Later on Saturday Mr Strauss-Kahn was detained on board an Air France flight at New York's John F Kennedy airport minutes before take-off.
The IMF chief underwent medical examinations on Sunday. Police were looking for scratches or any other evidence of his alleged assault.
He was later charged with a "criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted rape". Police say the maid formally identified him in a line-up.
'Thunderbolt' Until he was arrested, Mr Strauss-Kahn was considered a favourite to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency next year.
Opinion polls gave him a good chance of defeating President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Socialist party president Martine Aubry described his arrest as a "thunderbolt" but called for Mr Strauss-Kahn to be presumed innocent.



Mr Strauss-Kahn denies the allegations against him



A court in New York has remanded IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in custody on charges of sexual assault.
The judge said Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, is a flight risk. He was arrested on Saturday after boarding a plane, and accused of trying to rape a hotel maid.
Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had been seen as a front-runner in France's presidential election in 2012, denies the charges.

His lawyer expressed disappointment at bail being denied, but said his client would be exonerated.
"This battle has just begun," defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the court.
Prosecutors told the court it was not the first time Mr Strauss-Kahn had been involved in such an incident and argued he had been arrested attempting to flee the country.
Defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman contested this, saying the defendant had not tried to flee the scene and was actually rushing for a lunch appointment.

When I hear your client was at JFK airport about to board a flight, that raises some concerns”
Judge Melissa Jackson

He added that Mr Strauss-Kahn later called the hotel to say he was at the airport and had left a mobile phone in his room.
'Concerns' However Judge Melissa Jackson denied the defence's offer to post $1m (£617,000) bail and agree to stay with his daughter in New York until the next hearing on Friday.
"When I hear your client was at JFK airport about to board a flight, that raises some concerns," Ms Jackson said.
The charges relate to an alleged assault at the Times Square Sofitel hotel in New York.
According to the New York Police Department, a 32-year-old maid told officers that when she entered his suite on Saturday afternoon, Mr Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her and sexually assaulted her.
The woman was able to break free and alert the authorities, a NYPD spokesman added.

Tristane Banon in 2004  
Writer Tristane Banon alleges Mr Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in 2002

Mr Strauss-Kahn's wife, French TV personality Anne Sinclair, has also protested his innocence.
Meanwhile, another allegation against Mr Strauss-Kahn has emerged. A French writer says she may file a complaint for an alleged sexual assault in 2002.
Tristane Banon, 31, says Mr Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her when she went to interview him for a book she was writing.
"We're planning to make a complaint," Ms Banon's lawyer told AFP news agency. Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have so far not responded to the allegation.
The European Union says the scandal should not affect bail-outs for eurozone countries.
The IMF has played a central role in organising rescue packages for the troubled economies of Portugal and Greece, and Mr Strauss-Kahn had been due to attend an EU finance ministers' meeting in Brussels to discuss the bail-outs.
The BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says he has gained the trust of countries in Europe which are giving financial assistance, and those which are receiving it.

Source: BBC News


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