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Strauss-Kahn shockwave hits France

Monday, May 16, 2011 - 02:59

May 15 - Shock in France as the arrest of IMF chief Strauss-Kahn on suspicion of sexual assault headlines major news bulletins. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A shockwave hits France. A TF1 anchor in France announces that Dominique Strauss Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and possible Socialist Presidential contender is arrested in New York on sexual assault charges. New York police said that Strauss-Kahn was arrested on charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. A 32-year-old maid filed the complaint after fleeing the $3,000-a-night hotel suite at the Sofitel in Times Square where the alleged incident occurred around 1 p.m. Saturday. Strauss Kahn was later arrested aboard an Air France plane. The head of France's socialists party Martine Aubry said Strauss Kahn called for calm SOUNDBITE: Socialist Party Head Martine Aubry, saying (French): "The news that has reached us overnight from New York is obviously like a thunderbolt. And I am, like everybody else, stunned. I call on everyone to wait for the facts to emerge and to respect the presumption of innocence. And to all, I ask they retain the necessary decency. I call on the Socialists to remain united and responsible Strauss-Kahn was widely expected to announce his candidacy for next year's presidential elections in the coming weeks and most opinion polls tipped him as the person best-placed to defeat French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose ratings are at an all-time low. Strauss-Kahn faced controversy before. In 2008, he apologized for "an error of judgment" after an affair with a female IMF economist who was his subordinate. He was cleared of harassment and abuse of power, but he was warned against further improper conduct. SOUNDBITE: Philippe Martinat, a Strauss-Kahn biographer, saying (French): "This business is not going to be resolved in a few days, I imagine that whatever happens it will have durably damaged his image and will dig up other affairs like the Peroska Nagy business, the IMF economist. So I think he's definitely crashed off the road as far as the Socialist primary and the presidency are concerned." Some in Paris are still trying to understand what happened. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified man, saying (French): "I think he's someone who's intelligent. To jump on a maid who has come to clean his room. He comes out naked, closes the door, pushes her on the bed and then runs off, and then is found at the airport. I don't say it's a set-up but it's really really strange. The IMF announced Sunday that John Lipsky, the first deputy managing director will serve as acting director. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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Strauss-Kahn shockwave hits France

Monday, May 16, 2011 - 02:59