16 May 2011

IMF chief to plead not guilty to sex attack

9:02 pm on 16 May 2011

The lawyer for International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn says he intends to plead not guilty to allegations he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, has been charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment of a New York hotel maid.

A 32-year-old woman has alleged Mr Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom in his Sofitel Hotel suite and sexually assaulted her.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was taken by police from an Air France plane about to leave for Paris from JFK Airport on Saturday.

He faces three charges including rape and attempted imprisonment. His court appearance has been postponed until Monday and his lawyers say he has agreed to a physical examination.

The IMF chief was a key player in the response to the global financial meltdown and in Europe's debt crisis.

On Monday, he had planned to attend a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Monday to discuss the bailouts of Portugal and Greece.

Mr Strauss-Kahn is considered a possible Socialist candidate for the presidency of France, though he has yet to declare his candidacy.

The BBC reports he was seen as having a genuine chance of beating conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking a second term in the election in April next year.