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May 15, 2011

IMF Chief Held Without Bail on Sexual Assault Charges

The head of the International Monetary Fund is being held without bail in New York on charges of sexual assault, following a complaint by a hotel maid.

Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say he is not guilty, and has agreed to undergo a forensic examination as police gather more evidence in the case.

He appeared in a New York court Monday.  He faces up to 25 years in prison.

Presidential aspirations

Strauss-Kahn, who has been considered a leading candidate to be the next president of France, was arrested Saturday and later charged with criminal sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday he "won't comment on a legal matter," but that the U.S. remains "confident in the institution of the IMF and its ability to continue to execute its mission effectively."

Video footage of arraignment

The accuser

Police say a 32-year-old chambermaid at the Sofitel Hotel says she was assaulted by Strauss-Kahn after she entered his $3,000-a-night luxury suite to clean it Saturday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, a lawyer for French writer Tristane Banon said the woman is considering filing a legal complaint saying Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in 2002.

The International Monetary Fund says it remains fully functioning and operational. It appointed an acting managing director on Sunday.

About DSK

Strauss-Kahn is married to a prominent French television reporter, and has weathered previous sex scandals.  In 2008, he apologized for what he termed "an error in judgement" for an affair with one of his subordinates.

Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody late Saturday afternoon when he was pulled from his first-class seat on a plane that was just minutes away from taking off for Paris.  Police say when they had earlier arrived at his hotel, Strauss-Kahn had already left for the airport, leaving behind his mobile phone and other personal items.

Strauss-Kahn was considered a leading contender to run as the Socialist party's candidate against President Nicolas Sarkozy in France's 2012 election.