IMF head resigns with immediate effect

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned as its head following charges against him of sexual assault and attempted rape. 

Strauss-Kahn made the following statement in a formal letter of resignation to the Board:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board:
It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of Managing Director of the IMF.
I think at this time first of my wife – whom I love more than anything – of my children, of my family, of my friends.
I think also of my colleagues at the Fund; together we have accomplished such great things over the last three years and more.
To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.
I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and specially – especially – I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn”
The IMF said it would communicate in the near future on the board’s process of selecting a new managing director. Meanwhile, John Lipsky remains acting managing director, it said.

Strauss-Kahn will on Thursday for a second time request release on $1 million cash bail and placement under 24-hour house arrest while he awaits trial on charges of attempting to rape a hotel maid, his lawyers said. He is being held in New York's notorious Rikers Island jail.  

"Yes there will definitely be a bail hearing tomorrow," Manhattan District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Erin Duggan told Reuters on Wednesday.
 

A mug shot of Strauss-Kahn, 62, taken more than 24 hours after he was pulled from a plane and detained on Saturday, showed him exhausted, his eyes downcast and half-closed and wearing a rumpled, open-neck shirt.       

The photograph may fuel outrage in France over how a man who had been viewed as a strong contender for the French presidency has been paraded before the cameras before he has had a chance to defend himself in court.

Polls released in France on Wednesday showed 57 per cent of respondents thought the Socialist politician was definitely or probably the victim of a plot. The woman Strauss-Kahn allegedly tried to rape, a 32-year-old widow from West Africa, testified on Wednesday before a grand jury. It will decide in secret whether there is enough evidence to formally press charges with an indictment.

"The proceedings are ongoing," her lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro, said.

Strauss-Kahn's arrest has dashed his prospects to run for the French presidency in 2012 and raised broader issues over the future of the IMF.
   
Developing countries are questioning Europe's hold on the top IMF position, and jockeying for his replacement has already begun.

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