News / Europe

Calls Begin for Jailed IMF Leader to Resign

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, right, talks with his Austrian counterpart Maria Fekter at the start of an Eurogroup meeting at the EU Council in Brussels, May 16, 2011
Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, right, talks with his Austrian counterpart Maria Fekter at the start of an Eurogroup meeting at the EU Council in Brussels, May 16, 2011

Leaders on Tuesday began suggesting that jailed International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn should resign from his post after allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

As Strauss-Kahn spent the night in the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York, officials from China to Brazil began suggesting candidates who could replace him.

A New York judge denied the French politician and international economist bail on Monday on concerns that he was a flight risk.

Strauss-Kahn is accused of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching, criminal sexual acts and sexual abuse of a maid at the luxury Sofitel hotel in New York where he was staying during a private visit to the city.

He has said he is innocent. If convicted of the most serious charges, Strauss-Kahn could face up to 25 years in jail.

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter on Tuesday said Strauss-Kahn should step down to avoid damaging the IMF, while Spain's Finance Minister Elena Salgado said her sympathies were with the woman who suffered the assault.

With the scandal reaching global proportions, emerging powers like China and Brazil are indicating that the next leader of the financial institution should come from outside Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday leaders should not pre-judge Strauss-Kahn, but then added that Europe had good candidates available to take the Frenchman's place.

The IMF has appointed John Lipsky as the acting managing director of the international fund.

Rikers Island prison is a maximum security prison. Strauss-Kahn is reportedly being kept in a single cell away from the general prison population which includes some of the United States' most violent criminal gangs, such as the Bloods, Crips and Mara Salvatrucha.

Strauss-Kahn has weathered past sexual scandals. In 2008 he apologized for what he termed an "error in judgment" for an affair with one of his subordinates.

Strauss-Kahn is due back in court on Friday, May 20.

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