The head of the International Monetary Fund is awaiting arraignment Sunday in New York City after his arrest on sexual assault charges.
Police said early Sunday that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with criminal sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment following a complaint by a hotel maid.
An attorney for Strauss-Kahn says he will plead not guilty to the charges.
The International Monetary Fund says the IMF remains fully functioning and operational. It says it has no comment on the arrest.
Strauss-Kahn was considered a leading contender to run as the Socialist party's candidate against President Nicolas Sarkozy in France's 2012 election.
The head of the Socialist party, Martine Aubry, appealed for party unity Sunday and said that the news "struck like a thunderbolt."
Police say Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody late Saturday afternoon when he was pulled from his first-class seat on an airplane that was just minutes away from taking off for Paris.
Police say a 32-year-old chambermaid at the Sofitel Hotel says she entered Strauss-Kahn's hotel room to clean it Saturday afternoon. The maid told police Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom completely naked and attempted to force her into performing sex acts. The maid says she broke free, fled the room and told other hotel personnel, who called police.
Police say when they arrived at the hotel, Strauss-Kahn had already left for the airport, leaving behind his mobile phone and other personal items.
New York Police spokesman Paul Browne said early Sunday the maid was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.
Strauss-Kahn is married to a prominent French television reporter, but 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.
The deputy director of the IFOP polling institute, Jerome Fourquet, told French radio that if the charges prove true, it will be extremely hard for Strauss-Kahn to resume a political career.