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New York judge grants former IMF chief $1 million bail

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-19

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted bail of $1 million after being indicted over allegations of sexual assault Thursday. The former IMF chief will be monitored electronically while under 24-hour home detention until his arraignment June 6.

REUTERS - Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted bail by a New York judge on Thursday, but the former IMF chief accused of trying to rape a hotel maid will spend one more night in jail before being released.
The judge set $1 million cash bail and required 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring for the Frenchman, who resigned as head of the international lender but has vowed to fight the sex assault charges that led to his arrest.
Strauss-Kahn was also ordered to have one armed guard at all times at his own expense and have a $5 million insurance bond. Prosecutors had argued he was a flight risk.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyer sets out bail conditions
The bail terms were sufficient to ensure “that you will be here when we need you to be,” New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus told the 62-year-old who has been in custody since police pulled him off an Air France plane on Saturday.
His wife has rented a New York City apartment where the couple will live, his lawyer William Taylor said. The security arrangements alone will cost him $200,000 a month.
Strauss-Kahn, dressed in a blue shirt and grey jacket, smiled at his wife, former French television journalist Anne Sinclair, and daughter Camille as he entered the courtroom. He looked tired and stared ahead resolutely during the proceedings, whispering occasionally to his lawyer.
Sinclair and her daughter had entered the courtroom arm-in-arm and more than one hundred journalists crowded into the seats, separated from Strauss-Kahn by a row of armed security guards.
The bail hearing came as jockeying to replace him at the top of the International Monetary Fund intensified. European countries and the United States sought a speedy succession to prevent a bid by emerging economies to put a potential rival candidate in place.
A Reuters poll of economists showed 32 out of 56 think French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is most likely to succeed him, and diplomats in Europe and Washington said she had backing from France, Germany and Britain—the three biggest European economies.
‘Open process’
Strauss-Kahn stepped down as IMF chief late on Wednesday, tendering his resignation from prison as pressure mounted from the United States and other countries to hand over leadership of the global lender.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for an “open process” to find a successor but sources in Washington said the United States, the largest financial contributor to the IMF, would back a European for the post.
The U.S. push to find a replacement quickly is likely to favor a European replacement because it would be difficult for developing nations to unify around a rival candidate in time to challenge Europe’s long hold on the job.
They also said there was an expectation that the United States would back Lagarde, not least because it wants to keep the number two IMF job and the leadership of the World Bank, the IMF’s sister organization that funds developing countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to preempt calls from emerging nations for a shot at the post by saying the next managing director should be appointed quickly and should be a European.
Canada, a member of the Group of Eight leading economies, who meet for a summit in France next week, expects a European to get the post, a government source said.
In veiled warnings against another U.S.-European stitch-up, China and Japan both called for an open, transparent process to choose a successor on merit.
‘Greatest possible firmness’
Strauss-Kahn’s resignation letter, released by the IMF and dated May 18, contained his first public comment on the charges of attempted rape, illegal sexual acts and sequestration of a 32-year-old widow from West Africa at a luxury Manhattan hotel.
“I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me,” he wrote. “I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence.”
A senior source at the IMF said Strauss-Kahn had resigned on his own accord through lawyers before the Fund’s board had been able to contact him to ask his intentions.
The woman Strauss-Kahn allegedly tried to rape testified on Wednesday before a grand jury. The 23-member panel will decide in secret whether there is enough evidence to formally press charges with an indictment.
Strauss-Kahn will be able to enter a plea in the charges at a June 6 arraignment hearing, and any trial could be six months or more away. If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said on Monday that the evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter.”
A lawyer for the alleged victim, a Guinean mother of a 15-year-old daughter who has gone into hiding to avoid media attention, told Reuters she opposed bail.
“The idea that the man who did this to her is now on the street, so to speak, and able to do what he wants to do in the world is something which is frightening to her,” Attorney Jeffrey Shapiro said.
Sensitive time
The vacancy at the IMF comes at a sensitive time, given its dominant role in helping euro zone states such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal deal with massive debt problems.
Europeans argue that the euro zone debt crisis means it makes sense for them to retain the post for now.
Lagarde, 55, declined to answer when asked if she was interested in the post, but told reporters: “Any candidacy, whichever it is, must come from Europeans jointly, all together.”
Several European diplomats said she had already been quietly canvassing support in expectation that Strauss-Kahn would stand down within weeks to seek the French presidency.
Emerging economy officials acknowledge that one problem would be their own difficulty in agreeing on one candidate, in contrast to the Europeans’ disciplined unity.
One possible figure may be former Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, 62, an economist with IMF experience, who is from an emerging economy that is a candidate for EU membership.
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said the practice of Europe appointing the IMF head must change because “the center of the world is moving from west to east.”
U.S. national John Lipsky, the Fund’s number two whose term expires in August, is acting managing director until the IMF executive board selects a successor to Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn’s arrest dashed his prospects of running for the French presidency in 2012. In a poll released in France on Wednesday, 57 percent of respondents thought the Socialist politician was definitely or probably the victim of a plot.


Date created : 2011-05-19


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