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Socialists support IMF director amid favouritism charges

Latest update : 2008-10-20

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn admits to having a brief affair with a staff member but denies allegations that he abused his position. His wife and fellow members of the French Socialist party have flown to his support.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's had only a "one-night stand" with a member of the world finance body's staff, his wife insisted Sunday as the French establishment rallied round the former socialist minister.
   
"We have moved on," said television journalist Anne Sinclair, insisting in her personal blog (http://annesinclair.typepad.fr/) that she still loves the IMF chief as much as before.
   
The International Monetary Fund has launched an inquiry into the 59-year-old managing director after he admitted having an affair with a Hungarian staffer, Piroska Nagy.
   
Nagy quit a top-level post in the IMF's Africa department and is now working for the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
   
The probe is looking into whether Strauss-Kahn showed favoritism toward Nagy, and whether he sought retribution once their relationship ended, according to The Wall Street Journal.
   
The investigation will also look into the severance package given to Nagy who left when the IMF sought departures.
   
"There is an internal IMF inquiry. We are waiting calmly for its conclusion. It should be quick," Strauss-Kahn's wife said on her blog.
   
"There is the rest, which is part of our private life, on which I have no intention of commenting," she added.
   
"Just this, before any malevolent rumours start, a few quick details: everyone knows that these things can happen in the life of any couple. For my part this one-night stand is behind us. We have turned the page," said the 60-year-old star television journalist.
   
The couple have been married since 1999. It is his third marriage and her second. "Let me add in conclusion that we love each other as much as before," Sinclair said.
   
The EBRD said it has no plans to investigate Strauss-Kahn's relationship.
   
"No. It was a perfectly normal hiring. She was appointed to a job and she was very highly qualified to do that job," spokesman Anthony Williams told AFP.
   
The French government and Strauss-Kahn's allies in the French Socialist Party have all come to defence of the man who was France's finance minister from 1997 to 1999 in Lionel Jospin's centre-left government.
   
The party's leader, Francois Hollande, said that "everybody recognises that (Strauss-Kahn) is a good managing director of the IMF."
   
Last year's defeated presidential candidate Segolene Royal said she hoped the former Socialist minister would be "cleared", although warned that France's "reputation for seriousness and competence" could be ruined if the probe found him guilty of any wrongdoing.
   
Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank told French radio he was "convinced that Strauss-Kahn had not abused his position."
   
"I am also convinced that this will not affect the IMF's operations which are very, very important at the moment," Trichet said.
   
Sources close to the IMF chief said his work has been unaffected by the forthcoming inquiry and he is said to still be holding regular meetings and consultations.
   
The IMF said it has hired an outside law firm to investigate whether Strauss-Kahn had abused his position by having an affair with the woman.

Date created : 2008-10-20

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