The immediate circumstances surrounding the arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn over charges of sexual assault, forcible confinement, and attempted rape brought about an abundance of media coverage immersed in rumour and innuendo.

The case being brought against the senior economist seems already to have dashed his aspirations towards the French Presidency, a position to which he was previously considered the heir apparent, and has had reverberations throughout the highest echelons of power across the world.

The assault is alleged to have taken place at about 1pm on Saturday 14th May, when a 32 year old Ghanaian hotel maid entered Strauss-Kahn’s $3,000- a-night suite at Time Square’s now infamous Sofitel Hotel. In her statement to the NYPD, the hotel maid claims the accused emerged naked from his bathroom and that when she fled he pursued her out into the hallway dragging her back to his bathroom where he compelled her to perform oral sex and he attempted to remove her underwear. The maid was able to escape the locked suite to her colleagues who alerted the police. Strauss-Kahn claims to have been away at lunch with his daughter at the time in question.

The IMF head was arrested shortly after the alleged event in the first class cabin of an Air France flight, which had to be held at JFK Airport. Considered a flight risk, he was denied bail for almost a week until he paid $1 million surety. He is currently under house arrest.

In the fallout from the arrest, public figures have lined up to both defend and lambast Strauss-Kahn in equal measure. Following his arrest, a growing number of women have come forward to accuse him of past indiscretions. Despite calls for his resignation, which duly came, in France, at least, 57% of those polled still feel that Strauss-Kahn has been victim of a rightwing conspiracy to block his path to the Presidency. An unlikely scenario, but conspiracy theorists must surely note that the leading candidate to replace Strauss-Kahn is none other than the right-wing French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde.

Callum Paton

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