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I.M.F. Names Replacement as Chief Awaits Arraignment

May 15, 2011

nytimes

Hours after its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the International Monetary Fundon Sunday named John Lipsky as acting managing director.

Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan. William Murray, an I.M.F. spokesman, said that Mr. Lipsky, who has been overseeing the logistics of the bailout of the Greek economy, would meet with members of the I.M.F. board in Washington later in the day, according to Reuters.

“In line with standard I.M.F. procedures, John Lipsky, first deputy managing director, is acting managing director while the M.D. is not in D.C.,” Mr. Murray said in a statement. “Mr. Lipsky will chair the informal Board session today.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, was awaiting arraignment on Sunday afternoon in Manhattan. The New York Police Department formally arrested him at 2:15 that morning “on charges of criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and an unlawful imprisonment in connection with a sexual assault on a 32-year-old chambermaid in the luxury suite of a Midtown Manhattan hotel yesterday” about 1 p.m., Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said.

Reached by telephone, Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer, said he would be representing Mr. Strauss-Kahn with William Taylor, a lawyer in

Washington.

“We have not yet been able to meet with our client and we may have more to say tomorrow,” said Mr. Brafman, who said he had been contacted late Saturday night. He said Mr. Strauss-Kahn was being housed at the police department’s Special Victims Unit.

Early Sunday morning, Mr. Brafman said that his client “will plead not guilty.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn was widely expected to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency, was apprehended by detectives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the first-class section of the jetliner, and immediately turned over to detectives from the Midtown South Precinct, officials said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister, had been expected to declare his candidacy soon, after three and a half years as the leader of the fund, which is based in Washington. He was considered by many to have done a good job in a period of intense global economic strain, when the institution itself had become vital to the smooth

running of the world and the European economy.

His apprehension came at about 4:40 p.m. at Kennedy Airport, when two detectives of the Port Authority suddenly boarded Air France Flight 23, as the plane idled at the departure gate, said John P. L. Kelly, a spokesman for the agency.

“It was 10 minutes before its scheduled departure,” Mr. Kelly said. “They were just about to close the doors.”

Mr. Kelly said that Mr. Strauss-Kahn was traveling alone and that he was not handcuffed during the apprehension.

“He complied with the detectives’ directions,” Mr. Kelly said.

The Port Authority officers were acting on information from the Police Department, whose detectives had been investigating the assault of a female employee of Sofitel New York, at 45 West 44th Street, near Times Square. Working quickly, the city detectives learned he had boarded a flight at Kennedy Airport to leave the country.

Though Mr. Strauss-Kahn received generally high marks for his stewardship of the fund, his reputation was tarnished in 2008 by an affair with a Hungarian economist who was a subordinate there. The fund decided to stand by him despite concluding that he had shown poor judgment in the affair. Mr. Strauss-Kahn issued an apology to I.M.F. employees and to his wife, Anne Sinclair, an American-born French journalist.

In his statement then, Mr. Strauss-Kahn said, “I am grateful that the board has confirmed that there was no abuse of authority on my part, but I accept that this incident represents a serious error of judgment.” The economist, Piroska Nagy, left the fund as part of a buyout of nearly 600 employees instituted by Mr. Strauss-Kahn to cut costs.

In the New York case, Mr. Browne said that it was about 1 p.m. on Saturday when the maid, a 32-year-old woman, entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite — Room 2806 — believing it was unoccupied. Mr. Browne said that the suite, which cost $3,000 a night, had a foyer, a conference room, a living room and a bedroom, and that Mr. Strauss-Khan had checked in on Friday.

As she was in the foyer, “he came out of the bathroom, fully naked, and attempted to sexually assault her,” Mr. Browne said, adding, “He grabs her, according to her account, and pulls her into the bedroom and onto the bed.” He locked the door to the suite, Mr. Browne said.

“She fights him off, and he then drags her down the hallway to the bathroom, where he sexually assaults her a second time,” Mr. Browne added.

At some point during the assault, the woman broke free, Mr. Browne said, and “she fled, reported it to other hotel personnel, who called 911.” He added, “When the police arrived, he was not there.” Mr. Browne said Mr. Strauss-Kahn appeared to have left in a hurry. In the room, investigators found his cellphone, which he had left behind, and one law enforcement official said that the investigation uncovered forensic evidence that would contain DNA.

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