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French politicians welcome decision to clear IMF chief

Text by Philip CROWTHER , AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-27

Politicians welcomed the results of an internal International Monetary Fund inquiry that cleared its director of abuse of power charges. Pierre Moscovici of the Socialist Party told FRANCE 24 he "never doubted" the honesty of the IMF chief.

French political leaders on Sunday welcomed the decision to clear International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of harassment or favouritism following an affair with a colleague.
   
Fund directors found Saturday that the IMF's French managing director had made a "serious error of judgment" following an inquiry into his relations with an IMF economist, but ruled he should be allowed to keep his job.
   
President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party said the decision was "a good thing" for the IMF as it confronted the world financial meltdown, taking aim at what it called a bid to "destabilise" the IMF chief.
   
"This is good news, for it to prove impossible to destabilise someone over his private life," said UMP spokesman Frederic Lefebvre. "There were people out there who did not wish him well.
   
"The fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn knows the French system perfectly well, and that regulation is one of his principles is truly a good thing."
   
A former French economy minister, Strauss-Kahn is aligned with Sarkozy in calling for much greater regulation of global financial markets, despite reservations from the United States, Britain and Germany.
   
France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner last week accused unnamed political forces of conspiring to push the scandal into the media spotlight.
   
Members of Strauss-Kahn's opposition Socialist Party also welcomed the news he would stay at the helm.
   
Former prime minister Laurent Fabius said the case was now "settled".
   
"Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been completely cleared and that is excellent news, for him of course but also for those who support him and his work at the IMF," he told Radio J.
   
Lionel Jospin, also a former prime minister, told Europe 1 radio he was "delighted."
   
"If we are to refound a regulated financial and monetary system, the Monetary Fund needs to be at the heart of that process. So it is particularly important that the man who runs it be able to do so."
   
Strauss-Kahn, 59, was appointed in September 2007 to head the IMF and help reform the institution.
   
The Frenchman admitted having an extramarital affair with the economist Piroska Nagy, but denied harassing her and rejected suggestions she was given a more generous severance package than merited when she left the IMF in August.
   
The probe came 15 months after former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz was forced to quit because of alleged favoritism towards a staffer with whom he had a long-standing relationship.

Date created : 2008-10-26

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