19 May 2011

Pressure mounts on IMF boss to resign

3:58 pm on 19 May 2011

Pressure is growing on the head of the International Monetary Fund to step down as he awaits trial on sex charges in New York.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is in prison on Rikers Island after being refused bail. His next court appearance is on Friday.

The charges arose after an incident at the Sofitel hotel in Times Square on 14 May. A hotel employee told New York police that Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, tried to rape her.

The BBC reports DSK, as he is known, is on suicide watch.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says Mr Strauss-Kahn is not in a position to run the IMF and he wants an interim chief appointed as soon as possible.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also says the matter needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

He said Europe would naturally put forward a candidate to replace Strauss-Kahn if he were to step down.

The post traditionally goes to a European, but Asia and other emerging regions are now expected to push their candidates.

The BBC reports public opinion in France appears to be largely on the side of Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, a friend for 25 years, has spoken out in his defence.

Polanski case comparison

Comparisons between the legal troubles of film director Roman Polanski and DSK are being made on both sides of the Atlantic.

Prosecutors were among the first to draw parallels between the two cases.

Chief assistant district attorney Daniel Alonso said that if Mr Strauss-Kahn were to leave the United States, France would be under no obligation to send him back to face trial.

''He would be living openly and notoriously in France, just like Roman Polanski,'' he said in court on Monday.

The BBC reports French media tend to see the comparison between the two cases as an ominous sign for Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Le Point quotes an unnamed French government source as saying that the Polanski episode does not work in Mr Strauss-Kahn's favour.