Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the current Managing Director of the IMF¹ (International Monetary Fund), has been arrested on Saturday afternoon in New York, as he was about to take off at JFK airport, on board an Air France flight to France. He was removed from the airplane and held at the airport, New York Deputy Police spokesman Paul Browne told CNN. Strauss-Kahn was then taken into custody, before being handed over to New York Police Department detectives. The reason for his arrest is an alleged sexual assault that would have taken place at a hotel in New York, earlier that day.
PORTRAIT OF DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was born on 25thApril 1949, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.DSK, as he is widely known in France, began his career at the end of the seventies as assistant professor, then professor of economics at the University of Paris X. Member of the Socialist Party since 1976, he was elected Member of the French Parliament in 1986, and served in three Socialist governments as Minister of Industry and International Trade (1991-1993) and as Minister of Finance (1997-1999). After spending some time in the opposition, against President Sarkozy, he took over the IMF in November 2007, as the organisation’s 10th-ever managing director. Although he had not publicly announced that he could run for president against M. Sarkozy, he was currently leading the opinion polls as the best candidate to defeat the French President.
THE CASE AGAINST DSK.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said that Strauss-Kahn hadn’t been charged over the alleged assault, but that he was being questioned by detectives in regard to a woman who filed a complaint against him. Police said that a 32-year-old chambermaid at Hotel Sofitel,near Time Square, in Manhattan, was allegedly assaulted around lunch time on Saturday in M. Strauss-Kahn room, before fleeing the room after the incident.
The chambermaid“was brought by EMS (emergency medical services) to the Roosevelt Hotel, where she was treated for minor injuries,”the NYPD spokesman said before adding that“the NYPD realised (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) had fled, he had left his cell phone behind. It looked like he got out of there in a hurry. We learned he was on an Air France plane. They held the plane and he was taken off and is now being held in police custody for questioning.”
DOCTOR DOMINIQUE AND MISTER DSK.
In a similar way to“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,”Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a perplexed character.Doctor Dominiqueis the good man, competent, clever and talented politician, the head of the IMF, a happy husband and father of four. Whereas,Mister DSKrepresents more the hidden side ofDoctor Dominique. He is more secretive and loves women. Maybe too much to his despaired hardcore supporters’ taste. Unfortunately,Mister DSKsometimes appears in daylight, and in public.
In October 2008, for example, Dominique Strauss-Kahn had to apologise publicly to the IMF employees and his wife for the trouble caused by his affair with Piroska Nagy, a Hungarian subordinate in the international organisation. In a statement, he said:“I am grateful that the (IMF) board has confirmed that there was no abuse of authority on my part, but I accept that this incident represents a serious error of judgment.”He called it“a serious error of judgment,”yet denying having abused his position. The Hungarian later declared:“I believe that man has a problem.”
In May 2010, the British newspaperThe Times²was revealing some crunchy lines from a book,Secret of a Presidential Contender, written by a woman hidden under the pseudonym Cassandre, who was said to be one of his female aides.The Timescited that there were“rumours of multiple extramarital liaisons beyond the one he confessed to with an IMF employee in 2008.”In her book, the author was calling him“a pleasure seeker”adding:“Like all great political animals, he has trouble controlling himself.”
Then,The Timesadded the well-known anecdote about the DSK meeting with President Sarkozy at the Elysée Palace, before he sets off for the IMF, where Nicolas Sarkozy is thought to have teased him, saying:“You know, over there they don’t joke about this sort of thing. Your life will be passed under a magnifying glass. Avoid taking the lift alone with interns. France cannot permit a scandal.”
The rumours, the teasing, the jokes even within the Parisian socialites weren’t something new.“Strauss-Kahn has only one real problem: his relations to women,”French journalist Jean Quatremer³ wrote on his blog in July 2007.“He often is on the verge of harassment sots. The media know about it, but nobody dares to talk about it (we are in France). However, the IMF is an international institution with moral values. An inappropriate gesture or an explicit allusion puts you to the media spotlight.”
“Who hasn’t been cornered by Dominique Strauss-Kahn?”once asked Danielle Evenou†, a famous French actress, on a radio show.
FAR FROM SARKOZY’S JUGULAR VEIN.
At the time of his election, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had in mind to eliminate his Socialist opposition by offering to its preeminent members some ministerial positions in his government, to some success. One of the Socialists that President Sarkozy probably wanted to see as far as possible from his jugular vein was Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A man who had been defeated by Segolene Royal during the nomination for the Socialist candidacy in the 2007 presidential election, but who could well run against him five years later.
Therefore, the newly elected French president had no choice but to give his full and solid support to the nomination of Strauss-Kahn for the job of Managing Director of the IMF, a bureaucratic, boring, and low-profile Washington-based job! Far away from his homeland! Far away from Sarkozy!
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHTS.
With the financial crisis hitting the planet in 2008, the IMF, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn as its Director, dearly advised and helped countries like Greece, and other governments in economic difficulties. This brought to light Strauss-Kahn’s leadership at the IMF, but also that he was a man with charisma, a born-leader, a man internationally respected, and whose opinion actually mattered.
In July 2009, an opinion poll showed he was, with former President Jacques Chirac, the politician French people liked the most, even though he was quite far from the country’s political scene. Then other opinion polls broke, showing that if he was to run against President Sarkozy in 2012, DSK could win and become president. Week after week, polls were showing DSK becoming president in 2012, without even having declared himself candidate!
DSK’S AWAITED CANDIDACY.
Having such a direct rival at the top of France’s opinion polls for so long presented Nicolas Sarkozy with a great dilemma for his re-election in 2012. DSK’s nomination at the IMF had eventually smashed Sarkozy’s master plans into pieces!
That’s when, a few months, the UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, started running a smear campaign against Strauss-Kahn, denouncing his way of life, showing him as a man distant from French people’s worries since he lives in Washington (By the way, who asked him to go to Washington in the first place, again?), talking about his origins as a Jew, drawing attention to his extravagant lifestyle. Everything to stop people being fond of him. All without any success, so far!
Strauss-Kahn’s position was, however, pretty clear. He was working at the IMF, in Washington, where he had a mandate, and wasn’t going to talk about French politics. He even went on TV to explain… exactly that.
But in October 2010, in the American magazineNewsweek‡, a close friend of DSK pointed out anonymously that the man had started preparing his“television appearances.”While one of his former advisers suggested that“(DSK) would want to make the announcement of his candidacy in June (2011) after a G20 summit expected to be held in France in May where he could ‘be at the helm of the IMF and use it as a platform’.”
COINCIDENCE… OR INNER DEMON?
Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s former adviser talking about the G8 Summit° of 26-27thMay, in Deauville? Was DSK about to make the formal announcement that he was going to resign from the IMF to run for the French presidential election of 2012?
The Sofitel alleged assault would certainly be manna from heaven for Nicolas Sarkozy, who would see one of his most dangerous rival, if not THE most dangerous one, eliminated from the campaign for the 2012 presidency! Very fortunate coincidence?
Or didMister DSKsimply surface again? Has, like in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, as time goes by,Mister DSKgrown in power, to the point that Strauss-Kahn’s inner demon was eventually unleashed?
If the allegations against him are true, it could cost Dominique Strauss-Kahn more than just an apology, this time.Doctor Dominiquecould well have lost his last battle.
THE POWER OF TWITTER.
Contrary to two weeks ago with Osama Bin Laden’s killing operation by the US Navy Seals, the“normal”media were the first to tweet the story about Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrest. The New York Times, Huffington Post and Reuters jumped on the story within minutes from one another.
@nytimes– NYT NEWS ALERT: Head of I.M.F. Arrested in New York and Accused of Sexual Attack