Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and a candidate for the French presidency, was pulled off a plane at JFK Airport and arrested late this afternoon. He was accused of sexually assaulting a maid at the hotel he had been staying at in New York City. According to the NYT:
It was about 4:45 p.m. when plainclothes detectives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suddenly boarded the plane, Air France Flight 23, as it idled on the tarmac at the airport 10 minutes before it was scheduled to take off and took Mr. Strauss-Kahn into custody, according to an agency official.
The Port Authority officers were acting on information from the New York Police Department, whose detectives had been investigating a brutal attack of a woman employee at the hotel Sofitel New York, at 45 West 44th Street, in the heart of the city’s theater district.
This isn’t the first time Strauss-Kahn has been accused of sexual misconduct.
In 2008 he was embroiled in a controversy after accusations arose that he had had a sexual relationship with one of his subordinates, Piroska Nagy, a senior official in the I.M.F.’s Africa Department. The I.M.F. hired a law firm to launch an investigation, and Ms. Nagy left the fund and went to work for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. With the I.M.F. needed to quell the international economic meltdown, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was kept on the job. He later apologized for an “error in judgment.”
More on Strauss-Kahn from the Guardian UK:
Rumours of dangerous liaisons and sexual conquests have had little effect on Strauss-Kahn’s chances of occupying the highest office in France, but last night’s arrest may alter his future ambitions. Strauss-Kahn was expected to throw his hat into the election ring within weeks. He has been fighting off a very French furore over assertions his tastes are too luxurious to lay claim to the political left.
Strauss-Kahn is married to a wealthy heiress, Anne Sinclair,
the granddaughter of Paul Rosenberg, a celebrated dealer of modern art, and has inherited part of his collection, which is said to include at least one Picasso. In many countries, such wealth would not necessarily be viewed as an impediment to a leftwing politician’s career. In France, however, the flashiness has appalled some observers.
It seems that in France being wealthy is a drawback for a liberal candidate. Now he’ll have to figure out how to deal with being arrested for a sexual attack and having to meet with detectives from New York’s Special Victims Unit.
The LA Times has more detail on the maid’s accusations.
The 32-year-old woman told authorities that she entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square at about 1 p.m. Saturday and he emerged from the bedroom naked, threw her down and tried to sexually assault her, Browne said. She somehow broke free and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.
When New York City police detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his cellphone and other personal items, Browne said. “It looked like he got out of there in a hurry,” Browne said.
This is an open thread.