IMF chief to appear before court to answer assault charges

New York, May 16: International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was today (Ma 16) set to appear before a court here to answer charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid - a scandal that may bury his ambitions of becoming the next President of France.

Strauss-Kahn, a veteran French politician, was picked up out of a police lineup by the chambermaid last night, who has accused him of molesting her, according to media reports.

The French financial wizard's arraignment was put off for a day after he agreed to forensic testing requested by the police as his attorney Benjamin Brafman vowed that his client proposed to fight charges of sexual assault.

Strauss-Kahn, a likely candidate for 2012 presidential race in France, has been charged with attempted rape, sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment.

62-year-old IMF chief has denied the charges against him. Police allege that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted the 32-year-old woman Saturday at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan, then quickly headed off to New York airport to board a Paris-bound flight.

He was taken to a police station in Harlem from where he was led away Sunday in handcuffs to a waiting police car and taken to an undisclosed destination. The police later clarified that the IMF chief had no diplomatic immunity.

In a statement, IMF chief's lawyer William W Taylor III said, "Strauss-Kahn will plead not guilty." Before the incident, it was being widely speculated that Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist politician, had a chance at beating incumbent President Nicholas Sarkozy, who is plagued with all time low ratings.

Observers and rivals have said that the alleged charges will ruin Strauss-Kahn's chances at a political career.


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