DSK arrest 'has humiliated’ France

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Opponents say arrest of International Monetary Fund managing director is "killer blow" to presidential ambitions

THE arrest of International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn for alleged rape in a New York hotel has left his reputation is in tatters as politicians pronounced him “discredited” and France “humiliated” by his actions.

Most mainstream politicians talked on the record about the need to respect the presumption of innocence but some, such as Paris UMP MP Bernard Debré and Front National leader Marine Le Pen, did not mince their words.

Debré said: “It’s humiliating for France to have a man like him, who wallows in sex. Of course there is the presumption of innocence, but do you really think the police would come for him in an Air France plane; a man like him? It is miserable and humiliating for our country.”

Le Pen said it was a “killer blow” for the potential Socialist challenger for the 2012 presidential election. He had been left “discredited as a candidate” for the highest office of the state. She added that he seemed to have a “pathological” attraction to women.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers said he denies all charges surrounding the alleged rape of a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Times Square and would “vigorously” defend the charges. He was due to be arraigned in a New York criminal court this morning but the hearing has now been delayed until next Monday after he agreed to forensic tests.

The 62 year old left the Harlem special victims unit early this morning with his hands handcuffed behind his back after being identified by the alleged victim in a police line-up. He has been charged with a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

Strauss-Kahn’s wife, former broadcaster Ann Sinclair, said: “I don’t for a single second believe these accusations. I do not doubt that his innocence will be established.”

The Elysée Palace refused to make any comment and government spokesman François Baroin said: “The government respects two simple principles: that of an ongoing court case and then the presumption of innocence.”

However, later, an anonymous UMP member told 20 Minutes newspaper: “It’s not bad news; it’s a good day for us”.

Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry said the news was like a “thunderbolt” and she asked the party to remain “united”.

Former socialist presidential campaigner Ségolène Royal - who beat Strauss-Kahn for the nomination in 2006 - confessed herself “overwhelmed”. François Hollande, socialist front-runner in the 2012 campaign, admitted he was “stunned”.

Paris socialist MP and friend of Strauss-Kahn, Jean-Marie Le Guen, said the allegations “were nothing like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn that I know”.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested just minutes before his flight to Paris was due to take off. He was heading for a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on the Greek debt crisis. His deputy managing director, John Lipsky, has been made interim managing director in his place. This morning the Euro fell to a seven-week low against the dollar.

The IMF executive reprimanded Strauss-Kahn in 2008 for a “serious error of judgment” in having an affair with a colleague.

Photo: Guillaume Paumier

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