Sometimes it is almost hard to imagine that a news story did not start in the tabloids. The financial world and the political world have been shocked by news that the International Monetary Fund’s head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was also a front-runner in polls for the coming presidential election in France, has been charged with sexual assault of a chamber maid in New York City.
The charges filed against Strauss-Kahn include a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and unlawful imprisonment. It is our understanding that his plea is ‘not guilty.’ The IMF statement offers no insight at all on its website:
“IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York City. Mr. Strauss-Kahn has retained legal counsel, and the IMF has no comment on the case; all inquiries will be referred to his personal lawyer and to the local authorities. “The IMF remains fully functioning and operational.”
Strauss-Kahn was expected to announce in the coming weeks or months that he would leave his Washington post to run for president of France under the Socialist Party. It turns out that he had to make a public apology over an affair at the IMF in recent years. His reputation for being among the first to declare that the recession would globally take trillions of dollars to avoid a depression has just taken what would appear to be an unrecoverable turn for the worse (or worst).
His full biography is still on the IMF site. Strauss-Kahn was a member of the French National Assembly and Professor of Economics at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. He was reelected three times from 2001 to 2007 to the National Assembly in France, and in 2006, he ran for the Socialist Party’s nomination for the French presidential election. He also served as Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry of France from June 1997 to November 1999.
Strauss-Kahn holds a PhD in economics from the University of Paris; and he also graduated in law, in business administration, in political studies, and in statistics. Based upon his education, Mr. Strauss-Kahn could probably defend himself if chose to. He would also know statistically that his career is probably toast.
You can imagine that this will become a political spectacle in France, and now it drags the U.S. courts into it also. With France having a more than forgiving attitude toward sexual affairs, it is probably just a matter of time before allegations surface that Mr. Strauss-Kahn was either set up or lured into this situation. This is politics, and this is going to be a situation that likely has implications on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Charges like this do not always result in conviction, but they usually end a career and destroy a reputation. The IMF has been one of the helping factors in the bailouts in Europe. This agency has also not been without controversy. Its aim is to foster global growth and economic stability, often assisting with policy advice and with financing for its members under economic strain. It also aims to help developing nations to achieve economic stability and to reduce poverty. The IMF’s entire purpose has been challenged before, and a recent book from 2004 called “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” has only added more scrutiny over aid from the IMF.
This is one of those instances where even the real media will be full of news fit for the tabloids.
JON C. OGG