Former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn released on bail | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 20.05.2011
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Former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn released on bail

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been released from jail after posting bail. A New York judge had agreed to release him under the conditions that he remain under house arrest and wear a monitoring bracelet.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Strauss-Kahn will be detained under armed gaurd

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from New York's infamous Rikers Island jail late on Friday and placed in the custody of a private security company after posting $1 million (700,000 euros) in bail as well as a $5 million insurance bond.

"He has left our custody at Rikers Island and is in the hands of the security company," said Stephen Morello, a spokesman for the New York prison authorities.

New York Judge Michael Obus ordered 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn to be detained under armed guard at a temporary housing location in downtown Manhattan.

Originally, Strauss-Kahn's legal representation had asked that he be housed at an apartment rented by his wife, Anne Sinclair. However, the plans fell through after residents of the Upper East Side apartment building objected, citing the media onslaught.

"The reason that we had to move is because members of the press attempted to invade his private residence," Strauss-Kahn's defense lawyer William Taylor said.

Strauss-Kahn's next hearing is scheduled for June 6.

Charged on sexual assault

Strauss-Kahn, who has been seen as a contender for the French presidency, was indicted on all seven charges presented to a grand jury for allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel maid. He had resigned from the top post at the International Monetary Fund earlier on Thursday.

A New York City Police Department truck

Police were called after the alleged incident took place on Saturday

In his resignation letter, he strongly denied the charges - which included attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

"I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence," he said.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested soon after the alleged incident on Saturday after boarding a plane that was destined for Europe. He has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

Ahead of his resignation, there had already been calls from some, including US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for him to step down.

European successor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the resignation, claiming that it "allows the IMF to regain its capacity to act." Merkel said she hoped a European candidate would succeed him.

"Of course developing countries also have the right to occupy one of the positions - either the head of the IMF or the World Bank - in the medium term," she said.

"But in the current situation, given our considerable problems with the euro, in which the IMF is heavily involved, this speaks in favor of making it possible to propose a European candidate."

Favorite candidate

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who has been named as a potential successor, echoed Merkel's view, saying that "any candidacy, whichever it is, must come from Europeans jointly, all together."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi backed Lagarde as a candidate on Thursday, saying she would be an "excellent choice" for Europe to present as a common candidate.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

Barroso wants to keep a European for the IMF's top job

The IMF post has traditionally gone to a European with the US maintaining control of the parallel position within the World Bank. However there have been calls from emerging economies such as China, Brazil and South Africa for a shakeup of that practice.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso defended the European privilege, as EU countries provide the largest payments to the IMF. He said it was "only natural that [EU] member states would now agree on a strong and competent candidate."

The IMF said that John Lipsky would remain acting managing director during the search for a new chief for the international body.

Authors: Spencer Kimball, Holly Fox, Richard Connor (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Andrew Bowen

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