National News

Pressure builds for IMF chief to step down

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Austria's finance minister suggested the head of the International Monetary Fund step down in the wake of an alleged sexual assault.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held without bail at New York's infamous Rikers Island.

"Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself that he is hurting the institution," Maria Fekter said as she arrived at a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels.

Strauss-Kahn was denied bail after prosecutors had warned the wealthy banker might flee to France and put himself beyond the reach of U.S. law like the filmmaker Roman Polanski.

Strauss-Kahn is an economist, a leader of the French Socialist party and the head of the IMF, a global bank created by the United Nations.

He's accused of sexually assaulting a maid at a luxury hotel in New York City and faces charges of attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

"The defendant restrained a hotel employee inside of his room. He sexually assaulted her and attempted to forcibly rape her," said New York County District Attorney John McConnell.

The brother of the alleged victim told WABC-TV that his sister is recovering at an undisclosed location under NYPD guard.

"She's definitely scared. She doesn't know this guy," he said.

In France, defenders of Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister who had topped the polls as a possible candidate in presidential elections next year, said they suspected he was the victim of a smear campaign.

To those allegations, the victim's brother told WABC-TV, "She's not that kind of woman."

"I'm not happy about it, my family is not happy about it. You don't want to hear that. She is a good Muslim woman, a decent hard-working woman," he said.

Strauss-Kahn has maintained his innocence.

"Mr. Strauss-Kahn is innocent of these charges. We think this case is very defensible. His principle intention is to clear his name and re-establish his good name," said his attorney Ben Brafman.

This isn't the first time Strauss-Kahn, now married to his third wife, has been accused of sexual misconduct. Four years ago, a French writer said on a TV talk show that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in 2002, but she never filed charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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