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Strauss-Kahn : released on bail, but formally indicted
Everything you will need to understand quite how we came to this unbelievable state of affairs.
Wednesday 25th May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn sent a farewell email to his staff
In a message to his staff unveiled by CNN, Former IMF head Dominique Strauss Kahn explained the reason of his resignation and sent warm words to his former colleagues.
DSK argued it was really important for him to ''be in touch with [his former colleagues], personally and directly, to express my profound sadness and frustration in having to leave under these circumstances''.
Evoking the case for the first time, he then added : "I deny in the strongest possible terms the allegations which I now face; I am confident that the truth will come out and I will be exonerated. In the meantime, I cannot accept that the Fund—and you dear colleagues—should in any way have to share my own personal nightmare. So, I had to go".
Apparently deeply despondent, he then concluded his message by saying : "And so my dear colleagues, I say thank you, good luck for the future, and au revoir. Dominique"
You can find the whole message on CNN's website.
France's Christine Lagarde announces candidacy for IMF leadership
Monday 23rd May 2011
New information about the alleged assault
After escaping from Dominique Strauss-Kahn's suite, hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo was reportedly found traumatized by a supervisor in a hallway, having difficulty speaking and concerned about losing her job if she pressed charges. Three members of the Sofitel hotel staff heard her story and then took her to the hotel’s security office, who found her story credible and called police.
DNA tests to expose DSK ?
According to right-wing website Atlantico, financed by some of Nicolas Sarkozy's spin doctors and advisers, the results of the DNA test Dominique Strauss Kahn underwent prove that Strauss-Kahn's semen has been found on the maid's uniform. The conclusions of the examination will be unveiled within the next hours.
Friday 20th May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn released on bail
Thursday 19th May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn to get out on bail ?
Lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn filled papers on Wednesday asking a judge to release him on bail. The request will be heard at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday by State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The application suggests that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would be subjected to 24-hour home confinement, although it does not specify how that would be enforced or where he would be staying.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn Resigns
Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with immediate effect. In the following statement, DSK declared that he thinks 'at this time first of my wife — whom I love more than anything — of my children, of my family, of my friends'. He also added : 'To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me'.
Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister, is considered the front-runner for Dominique Strauss-Kahn's IMF role after an accomplished handling of the financial crisis and would be the first woman in the job. But can France sensibly hope to keep the IMF Managing Director position ?
Will DSK's lawyers change their defense strategy ?
Although lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Sunday that their client will plead not guilty to accusations of assaulting a maid at a New York hotel, the layers may decide to change their strategy, as a source close to the case said on Tuesday the defense believed that any sex act may have been consensual. It would corroborate DSK's lawyer Benjamin Brafman's declarations on Monday, as he told the judge he believed the “forensic evidence” was “not consistent with forcible encounter'.
Nevertheless, the alleged victim's lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro claimed 'there is no question this was not consensual — she was assaulted and she had to escape from him, which is why when she finally got out of the room, she reported it to security immediately. It doesn’t matter what Mr. Brafman says, and it doesn’t matter what the defendant says. Her story is her story, which she has told to everyone who asked her, and she is telling the truth. She has no agenda.”
The results of the tests and the medical examination, to be unveiled before the end of the week, will be crucial as they will influence DSK's defense strategy.
DSK to meet his wife today
Renowned journalist Anne Sinclair may be allowed to visit her husband today. On Sunday, she declared in a statement sent to the AFP : "I do not believe for one second the accusations brought against my husband". She now endeavours to make a bail be accepted by the judge, enabling DSK to be released on probation. Strauss Kahn is still held at NYC’s Rikers Island, where he is on suicide watch.
Wednesday 18th May 2011
Most French people believe DSK is a plot victim
57% of French people questioned by survey firm CSA thought the allegations against the IMF Managing Director are a conspiracy. When it comes to Socialist supporters, 70% believed he is victim of a plot.
Asked if the scandal has dashed Socialist Party hopes for winning the presidential elections next year, 54% said they would win, rising to 70% for Socialist voters.
Last but not least : those questioned thought Nicolas Sarkozy was the biggest political beneficiary of Mr Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, ahead of the Far-right’s Marine Le Pen and Socialist outsider François Hollande.
Tuesday 17th May 2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn jailed at Rikers Island
Monday 16th May 2011
A brief summary of the Strauss-Kahn case
If you just happened to be listening to the news in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, you will have received a shock: Dominique Strauss-Khan, the head of the International Monetary Fund, had been arrested and charged with assaulting a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan, New York. What firstly seemed very unclear quickly became an increasingly detailed story.
When a 32-year-old hotel worker entered Strauss-Kahn's three thousand dollar a night suite (£1,850) to clean it at 1pm, it is claimed that "[DSK] came out of the bathroom naked, ran down a hallway to the foyer where she was, pulled her into a bedroom and began to sexually assault her, according to [the maid's] account. She pulled away from him and he dragged her down a hallway into the bathroom where he engaged in a criminal sexual act. "He tried to lock her into the hotel room" New York police spokesman Paul Browne declared.
Here is a reconstruction of the assault made by Taiwanese TV Channel Apple Daily. it's worth seeing
After the maid escaped, she called the police, while Strauss-Kahn allegedly left the hotel 'in a hurry', leaving behind his cell phone and other personal possessions, and went to J.F.K. International Airport. But he was arrested by plainclothed detectives onboard the First Class cabin of AF flight 23, which was 10 minutes from take-off for Paris, at about 4.40pm on Saturday. He was then removed to a “commissariat in Harlem,” where he was held and charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.
Some unclear points and discrepancies
It is said that Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, Benjamin Brafman (who has handled case(s) for Michael Jackson) and William Taylor are intending to prove that DSK was having lunch with his daughter Camille at 1pm, belying the maid's declarations. They also point out the fact that DSK did not flee from the Sofitel, even if he actually forgot his phone there.
Another point to shed light on : the alleged sexual attack time. Is it 12pm, as the Sofitel New York manager Jorge Tito declared ? Or 1pm, as the maid claimed ? Anyway, Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the police he left the hotel at 12.28pm. Needless to say that the truth must be brought to light as soon as possible about this issue.
DSK and women : A long-standing ambiguous issue
Although DSK has long had a reputation as an inveterate seducer and often toed the line as a "womanizer" (cf Christophe Deloire and Christophe Dubois's book Sexus politicus), it is the first time he has officially been charged with sexual assault.
However, in a TV programme broadcast in 2007 (see video below), the young writer Tristane Banon accused him of assaulting her after she approached Strauss-Kahn for an interview in 2002. Even if Strauss-Kahn's name had been bleeped out in the programme, Tristane Banon later confirmed she was talking about DSK. She allegedly described him as a "rutting chimpanzee" and described how she was forced to fight him off. "It finished badly … very violently … I kicked him," Banon said. She added : "When we were fighting, I mentioned the word 'rape' to make him afraid, but it didn't have any effect. I managed to get out." But Tristane Banon did not press charges "I didn't want to be known for the rest of my life as 'that girl who had a problem with the politician''. She may sue DSK as well.
Another resounding scandal : an investigation was initiated by the IMF in 2008 after DSK's affair with Hungarian economist and a colleague Piroska Nagy was unveiled. The Managing Director of the IMF was cleared of harassment, abusing his position, and favouritism but publicly apologised for his "serious error of judgement". Read Franceinlondon's article about this scandal.
Strauss-Kahn himself knew he was vulnerable because of his alleged affairs with women. In an off-the-record briefing with journalists from left-wing newspaper Libération in April, he declared : 'I have three weak points : women, money, and my Jewishness'.
He then imagined that a plot could be instigated against him, following this scenario : a women could be paid 500,000 or 1,000,000 Euros to declare that she was raped in a car park by DSK. Some premonitory thoughts ? It is absolutely crucial to deal with this case carefully, although the images we receive from US media tend to affirm Strauss-Kahn's guilt. Have a look at this unbelievable 'Walk of shame', as the Daily News said.
And now ?
Panic at the Stock Exchange
The sexual assault charges brought against Strauss-Kahn may have unexpected consequences over the Greek and Portuguese bailout plans. Strauss-Kahn had been due in Europe for a crucial meeting with Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, with a Greek rescue package a year after the €110bn (£96bn) IMF and EU bailout is expected to be the focus of discussions. Officials say this scandal will add more uncertainty to decision-making at a critical time and cause delays in the short term; although it will not change the IMF's policy in Greece, as John Lipksy will act as First Managing Director while Strauss-Kahn is in custody.
2012 Presidential Elections
Strauss-Kahn's arrest leaves the Socialist party in shock. For months DSK has regularly topped polls as the person on the left that the French would most like to see replace Sarkozy (see article). But obviously this scandal, no matter how it will end, dashes all his presidential dreams. Therefore, François Hollande, the former Socialist party leader who is also seeking the party's nomination as presidential candidate, stands as the most likely Socialist candidate. However, one question remains : what will Martine Aubry do ? The current party's First Secretary, who was waiting for DSK's official 2012 campaign announcement (there was little doubt here that he would), may decide to take part in the competition.