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Posts Tagged ‘Dominique Strauss-Kahn’

BREAKING NEWS: Mounting Evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahn was Framed

Posted by Admin on July 10, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25533

Global Research, July 7, 2011
While the media has gone to arms length to obfuscate the matter, there is mounting evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahnwas framed.

According to media reports, the 32-year-old Guinean Sofitel housemaid received the modest sum of 100,000 dollars paid into her bank account. The New York Times acknowledges the payment but fails to analyze the source of these payments. In an utterly confused statement, the NYT suggests that the money was deposited in the housemaid’s account by her Guinean boy friend who is serving time in a high security prison:

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends. (NYT, July 1, 2011, emphasis added)

The bank records of the housemaid, not to mention the record of her telephone calls, are known to police investigators, yet both the media and the prosecutors have failed to reveal the identity of the persons who instigated these money transfers.

The reports suggest that they may be “drug related”, thereby casually dismissing the likelihood that the money could have been part of the framing of DSK. The reports also mention that the money deposits were made “over the last two years”, thereby conveying  the impression that they bear no relationship to the DSK affair.

The exact timing of these money transfers including the identity of  senders are known to police investigators. Why has this information not been released?

If the 100,000 dollars had indeed been deposited into her bank account in the course of the last two years, why on earth would she be working as a housemaid?

Regime change at the IMF

Why was the substance of the housemaid’s false accusations not released at an earlier stage?  Who was protecting her?

Why did the media wait to reveal information which confirms DSK’s innocence.

This information was known to the prosecutors at an early stage of the investigation, yet it was only released after the appointment of France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as Managing Director of the IMF.

Lagarde’s candidacy was confirmed and accepted on June 26th. Her mandate was confirmed on June 28th following a decision of the IMF’s 24 member executive board.

Lagarde is an appointee of Wall Street and the US banking establishment. Her candidacy had been approved by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the 28th of June:

“I am pleased to announce our decision to support Christine Lagarde to head the IMF,” Geithner said in a statement hours before the 24-member IMF executive board was expected to select her as its managing director.

Careful timing. In a bitter irony, the report from the prosecutor proving DSK’s innocence was released on the day following the IMF’s executive board decision instating Lagarde as Managing Director of IMF for a five year term.

The frame-up has visibly succeeded. Who instructed prosecutors not to release this information until after the appointment of Lagarde as IMF Chief?

If this information had been revealed a few days earlier, Lagarde’s candidacy as IMF chief might have been questioned.

Regime change at the IMF has been speedily implemented, not to mention the implications of the DSK affair in relation to the French presidential elections.

Christine Lagarde commenced her five year term as IMF Managing Director on July 5th at the height of Greece’s debt crisis.

Sofar, the likely hypothesis of a frame-up directed against DSK is not being touched upon by the mainstream media.

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Former Head of IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn accuses Vladimir Putin of Being Part of a Plot to Have him Fired from his Post

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

Global Research, May 23, 2011

The former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has reportedly accused the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, of being part of a plot to have him fired from his post.

­The British Daily Mail newspaper has claimed that before his arrest on sexual abuse charges, Strauss-Kahn voiced concerns that he could fall victim to a conspiracy.

In an interview with a French TV channel, Strauss-Kahn’s colleague, Claude Bartolone, said the ex-IMF chief told him that Russia and France were trying to stop him running for the French presidency.

“He had to watch out and be careful. They could have tapped the phone. He said the Russians, and notably Putin had allied themselves with France to try to have him fired from the IMF, to stop him running for the presidency. He said that by not leaving the IMF ‘cleanly’ he would no longer be able to announce his candidacy,” Bartolone told BFMTV on April 29.

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has called the accusations entirely baseless.

“I’ve been secretary to Prime Minister Putin for the last three years and I’ve never heard such weird, such crazy, allegations that simply don’t have any sense in the background,” he stressed.

Peskov added that Bartolone’s confession had failed to become big news in France and now after one British had paper picked it up, he doesn’t believe that the story will have any continuation because “it’s something that has nothing to do even with a sense of humor.”

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is currently awaiting trial in New York.

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Does America have a Culture?

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

Global Research, May 24, 2011

The culture of the United States is said to be a youth culture, which is defined in terms of entertainment: sex, rock music or its current equivalent, violent video games, sports, and TV reality shows. This culture has transformed the country and appears on the verge of transforming the rest of the world. There are even indications that secularized Arab and Iranian youth can’t wait to be liberated and to partake of this culture of porn-rock.

America’s former culture–accountable government, rule of law and presumption of innocence, respect for others and for principles, and manners–has gone by the wayside. Many Americans, especially younger ones, are not aware of what they have lost, because they don’t know what they had.

This was brought home to me yet again by some reader responses to my recent columns in which I pointed out that Strauss-Kahn, the IMF director (now former) accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, was denied the presumption of innocence. I pointed out that the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty was violated by the police and media, and that Strauss-Kahn was convicted in the media not only prior to trial but also prior to his indictment.

From readers’ responses I learned that there are people who do not know that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by evidence in a public trial. As one wrote, “if he wasn’t guilty, he wouldn’t be charged.” Some thought that by “presumption of innocence” I was saying that Strauss-Kahn was innocent. I was accused of being a woman-hater and received feminist lectures. Some American women are more familiar with feminist mantras than they are with the legal principles that are the foundation of our society.

Many males also confused my defense of the presumption of innocence with a defense of Strauss-Kahn, or if they knew about “innocent until proven guilty,” didn’t care. Right-wingers wanted Strauss-Kahn out of the picture because he was the socialist party candidate likely to defeat the American puppet, Sarkozy, in the French presidential election. With Sarkozy, Washington finally has a French president who has abandoned all interest in an independent or semi-independent French foreign policy. Didn’t I realize that if we lost Sarkozy, the French might revert to not going along with our invasions, as they refused to do when we had to get Saddam Hussein? With Sarkozy, the French are doing our bidding in Libya. Why in the world did I think Strauss-Kahn and some silly doctrine like the presumption of innocence were more important than French support for our wars?

Many left-wingers were just as indifferent to a legal principle that protects the innocent. They wanted Strauss-Kahn’s blood, because he is a rich member of the establishment and as IMF director had made the poor in Greece, Ireland, and Spain pay for the mistakes of the rich. What did I mean, “presumption of innocence”? How could any member of the ruling establishment be innocent? One left-winger even wrote that I had “reverted to type,” and that my babbling about presumption of innocence proved that I was still a Reaganite defending the rich from the consequences of their crimes.

It evidently did not cause the feminist, the right-wing or the left-wing to wonder that if such a powerful member of the establishment, as they regard Strauss-Kahn to be, can be denied the presumption of innocence, what would be their fate?

Independent thought is not a concept with which very many Americans are familiar or comfortable. Most want to have their emotions stroked, to be told what they want to hear. They already know what they think. A writer’s job is to validate it, and if the writer doesn’t, he is, depending on the ideology of the reader, a misogynist, a pinko-liberal commie, or an operative for the fascist establishment. All will agree that he is a no good SOB.

As I wrote a while back, respect for truth has fallen and taken everything down with it.

Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts

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Regime Change at the IMF: The Frame-Up of Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

Posted by Admin on May 24, 2011

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, May 19, 2011

[Forward this article on Facebook or twitter, click above. This article is available in several foreign languages,Chinese ]

The arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has all the appearances of a frame-up ordered by powerful members of the financial establishment, in liaison with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, whose presidency has served the interests of the US at the expense of those of France and the European Union. While there is for the moment no proof of a plot, the unusual circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment require careful examination.

Immediately following Strauss Kahn’s arrest, pressures were exerted by Washington to speed up his replacement as Managing Director of the IMF preferably by a non-European, an American or a handpicked candidate from an “emerging market economy” or a developing country.

Since the founding of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1945, the World Bank has been headed by an American whereas the IMF has been under the helm of a (Western) European.

Strauss-Kahn is a member of elite groups who meet behind closed doors. He belongs to the Bildeberger. Categorized as one of the world’s most influential persons, he is an academic and politician rather than a banker. In contrast to his predecessors at the IMF, he has no direct affiliation to a banking or financial institution.

But at the same time he is the fall guy. His “gaffe” was to confront the Washington-Wall Street Consensus and push for reforms within the IMF, which challenged America’s overriding role within the organization.

The demise of Strauss-Kahn potentially serves to strengthen the hegemony of the US and its control over the IMF at the expense of what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called “Old Europe”.

Blocking Strauss-Kahn, the Presidential Candidate

In recent years, a major shift has occurred in Europe’s political landscape. Pro-American governments have been elected in both France and Germany. Social Democracy has been weakened.

Franco-American relations have been redefined, with Washington playing a significant role in grooming a new generation of European politicians.

The presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy has, in many regards, become a de facto US “client regime”, broadly supportive of US corporate interests in the EU and closely aligned with US foreign policy.

There are two overlapping and interrelated issues in the DSK frame-up hypothesis.

The first pertains to regime change at the IMF, the second to Strauss-Kahn as a candidate in France’s forthcoming presidential elections.

Both these processes are tied into the clash between competing US and European economic interests including control over the euro-currency system.

Strauss-Khan as a favorite of the Socialist Party, would have won the presidential elections leading to the demise of “Our Man in Paris” Nicolas Sarkozy. As documented by Thierry Meyssan, the CIA played a central undercover role in destabilizing the Gaullist party and supporting the election of Nicolas Sarkozy (See Operation Sarkozy: How the CIA placed one of its agents at the presidency of the French Republic, Reseau Voltaire, September 4, 2008)

A Strauss-Kahn presidency and a “Socialist” government would have been a serious setback for Washington, contributing to a major shift in Franco-American relations.

It would have contributed to weakening Washington’s role on the European political chessboard, leading to a shift in the balance of power between America and “Old Europe” (namely the Franco-German alliance).

It would have had repercussions on the internal structure of the Atlantic Alliance and the hegemonic role of the US within NATO.

The Eurozone monetary system as well as Wall Street’s resolve to exert a decisive influence on the European monetary architecture are also at stake.

The Frame-Up?

Fifty-seven percent of France’s population, according to a May 17 poll, believe that Strauss-Kahn was framed, victim of a set-up. He was detained on alleged sexual assault and rape charges based on scanty evidence. He was detained based on a complaint filed by the Sofitel hotel where he was staying, on behalf of the alleged victim, an unnamed hotel chamber-maid:

The 32-year-old maid told authorities that she entered his suite early Saturday afternoon and he attacked her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she thought was empty.

According to an account the woman provided to police, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7565485.html#ixzz1MfFWFlnY

Wednesday CFR.org Roundup: U.S. pressures Strauss-Kahn to resign

Challenging the Washington Consensus

What is at stake in the immediate wake of Strauss Kahn’s demise is “regime change” at the IMF.

The Obama administration has demanded his replacement by a more compliant individual. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank is pushing for the replacement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, “suggesting he can no longer perform his duties” as IMF Managing director.

“Geithner called for greater formal recognition by the IMF board that John Lipsky, the fund’s second-in-command, will continue serving as temporary managing director for an interim period. Although Strauss-Kahn has yet to resign, sources say the IMF is in touch with his legal counsel to discuss his future at the organization.”

What lies behind the frame-up scenario? What powerful interests are involved? Geithner had a close personal relationship with Strauss-Kahn.

On the floor of the US Senate (May 18), Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, called for the resignation of DSK while calling upon the IMF’s deputy managing director John Lipsky to “assume full responsibility of the IMF” as interim managing director. The process of “permanent replacement should “commence at once,” he said. John Lipsky is a well connected Wall Street banker, a former Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Investment Bank.

While the IMF is in theory an intergovernmental organization, it has historically been controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. The IMF’s “bitter economic medicine”, the so-called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), imposed on countless developing countries, essentially serves the interests of creditor banks and multinational corporations.

The IMF is not the main architect of these devastating economic reforms which have served to impoverish millions of people, while creating a “favorable environment” for foreign investors in Third World  low wage economies.

The creditor banks call the shots. The IMF is a bureaucratic entity. Its role is to implement and enforce those economic policies on behalf of dominant economic interests.

Strauss Kahn’s proposed reforms while providing a “human face” to the IMF did not constitute a shift in direction. They were formulated within the realm of neoliberalism. They modified but they did not undermine the central role of IMF “economic medicine”. The socially devastating impacts of IMF “shock treatment” under Strauss-Kahn’s leadership have largely prevailed.

Dominique Strauss Kahn arrived at the helm of the IMF in November 2007, less than a year prior to September-October 2008 financial meltdown on Wall Street. The structural adjustment program (SAP) was not modified. Under DSK, IMF “shock treatment” which historically had been limited to developing countries was  imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Under the helm of DSK as Managing Director, the IMF demanded that developing countries remove food and fuel subsidies at a time of rising commodity prices on the New York and Chicago Mercantile exchanges.

The hikes in food and fuel prices, which preceded the September-October 2008 Wall Street crash, were in large part the result of market manipulation. Grain prices were boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations. Instead of taming the speculators and containing the rise in food and fuel prices, the IMF’s role was to ensure that the governments of indebted developing countries would not in any way interfere in the “free market”, by preventing these prices from going up.

These hikes in food prices, which are the result of outright manipulation (rather than scarcity) have served to impoverish people Worldwide. The surge in food prices constitutes a new phase of the process of global impoverishment.

DSK was complicit in this process of market manipulation. The removal of food and fuel subsidies in Tunisia and Egypt had been demanded by the IMF. Food and fuel prices skyrocketed, people were impoverished, paving the way towards the January 2011 social protest movement:

Fiscal prudence remains an overarching priority for the [Tunisian] authorities, who also see the need for maintaining a supportive fiscal policy in 2010 in the current international environment. Efforts in the last decade to bring down the public debt ratio significantly should not be jeopardized by a too lax fiscal policy. The authorities are committed to firmly control current expenditure, including subsidies,… (IMF Tunisia: 2010 Article IV Consultation – Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia)

“[The IMF] encouraged the [Egyptian] authorities to press further with food and fuel subsidy reforms, and welcomed their intention to improve the efficiency and targeting of food subsidy programs. [meaning the selective elimination of food subsidies].

“Consideration should be given to introducing automatic adjustment mechanisms for domestic fuel prices to minimize distortions [meaning dramatic increases in fuel prices without State interference], while strengthening cash-based social programs to protect vulnerable groups. (IMF Executive Board Concludes 2008 Article IV Consultation with the Arab Republic of Egypt Public Information Notice, PIN  No. 09/04, January 15, 2009)

Under the helm of DSK, the IMF also imposed sweeping austerity measures on Egypt in 2008, while supporting Hosni Mubarak’s “efforts to broaden the privatization program”.(Ibid)

The Frank G. Wisner Nicolas Sarkozy Connection 

Strauss-Kahn was refused bail by Judge Melissa Jackson, an appointee and protégé of Michael Bloomberg, who in addition to his role as Mayor is a powerful figure on Wall Street.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged (using scanty evidence) Strauss-Kahn “with seven crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment”.

Who is Cyrus Vance Jr.?

He is the son of the late Cyrus Vance who served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration.

But there is more than meets the eye. Nicolas Sarkozy’s step father Frank G. Wisner II, a prominent CIA official who married his step mother Christine de Ganay in 1977 served as Deputy Executive Secretary of State under the helm of Cyrus Vance Senior, father of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior.

Is it relevant?

The Vance and Wisner families had close personal ties. In turn Nicolas Sarkozy had close family ties with his step father Frank Wisner (and his half brothers and sisters in the US and one member of the Wisner family was involved in Sarkozy’s election campaign).

It is also worth noting that Frank G. Wisner II was the son of one of America’s most notorious spies, the late Frank Gardiner Wisner (1909- 1965), the mastermind behind the CIA sponsored coup which toppled the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Wisner Jr. is also trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.

While these various personal ties do not prove that Strauss-Kahn was the object of a set-up, the matter of Sarkozy’s ties to the CIA via his step father, not to mention the ties of Frank G. Wisner II to the Cyrus Vance family are certainly worth investigating. Frank G, Wisner also played a key role as Obama’s special intelligence envoy to Egypt at the height of the January 2011 protest movement.

Did the CIA play a role?

Was Strauss-Kahn framed by people in his immediate political entourage including President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner?

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior, son of the late Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State in the Carter administration

Sarkozy’s Step Father Frank G Wisner II, Deputy Executive Secretary of State (1976-79)
under Cyrus Vance Senior during the Carter administration

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, centre, stands next to his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged attack on a maid at his penthouse suite of a hotel in New York. Photo: AP

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, next to his lawyer 

Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court (AP)

File:Strauss-Kahn, Geithner (IMF 2009).jpg

DSK and Timothy Geithner

DSK and Timothy Geithner


Fair Trial?

Innocent before proven guilty? The US media has already cast its verdict. Will the court procedures be manipulated?

One would expect that Strauss-Kahn be granted a fair trial, namely the same treatment as that granted to thousands of arrests on alleged sexual aggression charges in New York City.

How many similar or comparable alleged sexual aggressions occur on a monthly basis in New York City?  What is the underlying pattern? How many of these are reported to the police?  How many are the object of police follow-up once a complaint has been filed?

What is the percent of complaints submitted to police which are the object of police arrest? How many of these arrests lead to a judicial procedure? What are the delays in court procedures?

How many of these arrests lead to release without a judicial procedure?

How many of the cases submitted to a judicial procedure are dismissed by the presiding judge?

How many of the cases which are not dismissed are refused bail outright by the presiding judge? What is the basis for refusing bail?

How many are granted bail?  What is the average amount of bail?

How many are imprisoned without bail based on scanty and incomplete evidence?

How many of those who are refused bail are sent to an infamous maximum security prison on Rikers Island on the orders of  Michael Bloomberg.

Diplomatic Immunity

Press reports state that full diplomatic immunity does not apply to officials of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, namely that the US did not ratify the protocol.

“U.N. convention on privileges and immunities for international agencies that most countries have ratified. It gives the heads of U.N. agencies broad immunity in the countries where they are based. But the U.S. government never became a party to that treaty. Employees of international agencies are covered by a U.S. statute that gives only limited immunity.”

The relevant question is how has this limited immunity provision been applied in practice?  Namely how many people with limited immunity (UN officials, officials of the Bretton Woods institutions) have been arrested and sent to a high security prison?

Has Strauss Kahn been given the same treatment as those arrested under the provisions of “limited immunity”?

Does the Strauss Kahn arrest fit the pattern? Or is Strauss Kahn being treated in a way which does not correspond to the normal (average) pattern of police and judicial procedures applied in the numerous cases of persons arrested on alleged sexual assault charges?

Without a frame-up instrumented by very powerful people acting in the background, the head of the IMF would have been treated in an entirely different way. The mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Timothy Geithner would have come to his rescue.  The matter would have been hushed up with a view to protecting the reputation of a powerful public figure. But that did not happen.


Rikers Island Prison where DSK was imprisoned.

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IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces sex charge

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110515/wl_nm/us_strausskahn_arrest

NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) – IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged on Sunday with sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid, in a scandal that appeared to wreck his hopes of running for president of France.

The charges threatened to create a leadership vacuum at the IMF, overseer of the global economic system, and threw wide open the French presidential election next April, for which opinion polls had made Strauss-Kahn the front-runner.

One of his lawyers, Benjamin Brafman, told Reuters that his client “will plead not guilty.”

The 62-year-old Socialist, a key player in the response to the 2007-9 global financial meltdown and in Europe’s debt crisis, was taken off an Air France plane about to leave for Paris from John F Kennedy International Airport on Saturday.

The news caused shock and disbelief in France, where a government spokesman called for caution and respect for the presumption of innocence. [nPISFGE7NF]

“The news we received from New York last night struck like a thunderbolt,” said Socialist leader Martine Aubry, appealing for party unity.

Francois Bayrou, a centrist opponent of Strauss-Kahn, said: “All this is completely astounding, immensely troubling and distressing. If the facts prove true … it’s something degrading for all women. It’s terrible for the image of France.”

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said her rival’s presidential hopes had been crushed. Strauss-Kahn and Le Pen have led recent opinion polls ahead of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, even though the chief of the International Monetary Fund had yet to declare his candidacy.

The Fund said in a statement on its website that it “remains fully functioning and operational,” and had no comment on the case.

MAID’S ACCOUNT

New York police spokesman Paul Browne said Strauss-Kahn was arrested at 2:15 a.m. EDT on Sunday on charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

“We must wait until things settle and see if it’s true or a provocation, one of Strauss-Kahn’s French-based lawyers, Leon Lef Forster, said. “We must be especially careful not to get into a media circus and we must wait until things are clear.”

A 32-year-old maid filed a sexual assault 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. EDT on Saturday, Browne said.

Strauss-Kahn appeared to have fled the hotel after the incident, the police spokesman said.

Browne told Reuters: “She told detectives he came out of the bathroom naked, ran down a hallway to the foyer where she was, pulled her into a bedroom and began to sexually assault her, according to her account.

“She pulled away from him and he dragged her down a hallway into the bathroom where he engaged in a criminal sexual act, according to her account to detectives. He tried to lock her into the hotel room.”

Strauss-Kahn does not have diplomatic immunity, Browne said. He is expected to be brought before a state court on Sunday.

According to New York state law, a criminal sexual act carries a potential sentence of 15-20 years, the same as attempted rape. Unlawful imprisonment carries a potential sentence of three to five years.

The allegation is a major embarrassment to the IMF, which has authorized billions of dollars of lending to troubled countries and played a major role in the euro zone debt crisis.

It follows a statement on Thursday that the IMF’s No. 2, John Lipsky, plans to step down in August when his term ends.

A crisis of leadership at the Fund would especially worry European countries, given Strauss-Kahn’s pivotal role in brokering bailouts for Iceland, Hungary, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

FRANCE IN SHOCK

Popularly known by his initials DSK, the IMF managing director had been expected to declare by late June if he would run for president of France. The latest opinion polls ranked him as a clear winner over conservative incumbent Sarkozy.

“The case and the charges … mark the end of his campaign and pre-campaign for the presidency and will most likely prompt the IMF to ask him to leave his post,” National Front leader Le Pen told i-Tele television.

Conservative Trade Minister Pierre Lellouche said: “I think we have to grant DSK the presumption of innocence. If all this were true it would be damning.”

Even Strauss-Kahn’s political allies were pessimistic.

“The most likely outcome is that this case will stick and even if he pleads not guilty, which he may be, he won’t be able to be candidate for the Socialist primary for the presidency and he won’t be able to stay at the IMF,” said prominent Socialist Jacques Attali.

If Strauss-Kahn were out of the race, leading candidates for the Socialist presidential ticket include party leader Aubry, left-wing veteran Francois Hollande and Segolene Royal, the candidate beaten by Sarkozy in 2007.

PLANE HELD AT JFK

In New York, police spokesman Browne said: “The NYPD realized he had fled, he had left his cell phone behind. 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.”

The woman, who has not been named, was treated in hospital for minor injuries, Browne said.

Strauss-Kahn was on his way to Europe for a meeting on Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the European debt crisis, and then was to attend a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Strauss-Kahn took over the IMF in November 2007 for a five-year term scheduled to end next year. Before that, he was a French finance minister, member of the French National Assembly and a professor of economics.

He has faced controversy before. In 2008, he apologized for “an error of judgment” after an affair with a female IMF economist who was his subordinate. An inquiry cleared him of harassment and abuse of power, but he was warned by the fund’s board of member countries against further improper conduct.

Strauss-Kahn apologized to the woman, Piroska Nagy, and his wife, French television personality Anne Sinclair, as well as to IMF employees for the trouble he had caused.

Since taking over the Fund, he has won praise for putting it at the center of efforts to tackle the global financial meltdown. He introduced sweeping changes to ensure that countries swamped by the crisis had access to emergency loans.

He has overseen changes that have given emerging market countries, such as China, India and Brazil, greater voting power in the IMF, and weighed into thornier issues by urging China to let its currency rise in a dispute with the United States.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Noeleen Walder, Catherine Bremer and John Irish; Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Peter Millership)

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IMF chief to activate crisis fund next week

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/IMF-chief-activate-crisis-reuters-2530807212.html

On Friday 25 March 2011, 5:01 AM

 

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the International Monetary Fund will seek to activate a $580 billion crisis fund next week, a confidence-building step at a time of heightened global uncertainty.

“The biggest worry is the high risk of contagion from Portugal and general global uncertainty will trigger a new wave of borrowing from the fund,” a source familiar with the plan said. Two other sources also said economic worry spots were behind the expected move.

The IMF confirmed that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn would seek to activate the fund — New Arrangements to Borrow — but said it was a “natural consequence of ratification of NAB on March 11, which was previously announced.”

Still, the global worry list has expanded in recent weeks because of Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis, as well as unrest spreading in the oil-producing Middle East and North Africa.

Concerns about Portugal’s debt crisis increased on Wednesday after the sudden departure of its prime minister made it likely that the country may not avoid turning to the European Union and IMF for financial help.

Sources emphasized that Portugal had not requested IMF bailout money and insists it is adamantly opposed to requesting IMF help. The country first has to request IMF help to trigger formal discussions on a rescue loan and program.

So far, Portugal has managed to finance itself in capital markets although government borrowing costs spiked on Thursday and rating agency Fitch cut Portugal’s credit rating by two notches to A- saying risks to the country had risen after parliament failed to pass fiscal consolidation measures.

The concern is that Portugal’s debt woes has wider repercussions, with neighboring Spain holding about one-third of Portuguese public debt.

In a statement on March 11 announcing the NAB had taken effect, the IMF called it a tool to “provide supplementary resources to the IMF when these are needed to forestall or cope with a threat to the international monetary system.”

The NAB was expanded ten-fold from $53 billion last year to include 13 new contributors, among them large emerging market economies like China, Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico.

The United States is the largest contributor to the fund through a $100 billion credit agreement approved by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The move was in response to a call by the Group of 20 leading economies in 2009 to triple the IMF’s lending resources to shore up confidence in its ability to respond to crises.

The IMF has been at the center of the response to the financial meltdown and recession as the global lender of last resort, recently approving emergency loans to Ireland and Greece.

(Editing by Dan Grebler, Bernard Orr)

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Global imbalances returning, could fuel unrest – IMF chief

Posted by Admin on February 4, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Global-imbalances-returning-reuters-1199879621.html

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) smiles during a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event at the Newseum in Washington, December 16, 2010. REUTERS/Molly Riley/Files
On Tuesday 1 February 2011, 12:44 PM

 

By Kevin Lim

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The world economy has begun improving but is beset by problems such as high unemployment and rising prices which could fuel crippling trade protectionism or even lead to war within nations, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

Rising food and fuel prices in recent months have already hit poorer countries and are one of the factors behind massive anti-government protests in Egypt and in Tunisia, whose president was ousted last month.

The United Nations ‘ food agency (FAO) said last month that global food prices hit a record high in December, above 2008 levels when riots broke out in countries as far afield as Egypt , Cameroon and Haiti.

“The pre-crisis pattern of global imbalances is re-emerging,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a speech in Singapore.

“Growth in economies with large external deficits, like the U.S., is still being driven by domestic demand. And growth in economies with large external surpluses, like China and Germany, is still being powered by exports,” he said.

“As tensions between countries increase, we could see rising protectionism — of trade and of finance. And as tensions within countries increase, we could see rising social and political instability within nations — even war.”

Over the next decade, 400 million young people would join the global labour force, posing a daunting challenge for governments, he added.

“We face the prospect of a ‘lost generation’ of young people, destined to suffer their whole lives from worse unemployment and social conditions. Creating jobs must be a top priority not only in the advanced economies, but also in many poorer countries.”

Unemployment stands at 9.4 percent in the United States while a number of European countries are also struggling to create jobs in a global economy where much of the growth is coming from emerging market countries.

DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ALSO AT RISK

Concerns about rising debt in developed countries, meanwhile, have increased in recent months.

Ireland was engulfed by Europe’s debt crisis late last year, Greece continues to struggle despite a rescue package and many market watchers fear Portugal and Spain may be next.

Last week Standard & Poor’s cut Japan ‘s credit rating and Moody’s warned it may place a negative outlook on the United States unless it can reduce its gaping budget deficit.

In Asia, the worries centre around inflation and analysts say central banks in countries such as Indonesia need to respond faster to contain rising prices.

Strauss-Kahn also said foreign exchange rate adjustments have an important role to play in addressing global economic imbalances and should not be resisted.

“Holding back such adjustment in one country also makes it harder, and more costly, for other countries to let their exchange rate adjust,” he said.

“For this adjustment to take place, time is of the essence, but asking for time only makes sense if there is a significant and regular move in the right direction.”

Chinese policymakers were moving in the right direction by taking steps to bolster domestic demand, he noted, though the United States and many other Western countries continue to push Beijing to let its yuan currency appreciate faster.

Strauss-Kahn said the IMF expected subdued growth of 2.5 percent for advanced economies this year as high unemployment and household debt weighed on domestic demand.

“Without jobs and income security, there can be no rebound in domestic demand — and ultimately, no sustainable recovery,” he said.

Emerging markets would grow at a faster pace of 6.5 percent, with Asia excluding Japan expanding by 8.5 percent, he said.

“Monetary policy in the advanced economies should remain supportive as long as inflation expectations are well anchored and unemployment stays high,” while Asia may need to do more to address the threat of overheating and a possible hard landing, he said.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)

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Ireland swallows bitter pill, asks EU for loan

Posted by Admin on November 22, 2010

Image representing Associated Press as depicte...

Associated Press

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, left, and The ...
AP – Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, left, and The Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan speak to the media
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press – Sun Nov 21, 9:34 pm ET

 

DUBLIN – Debt-crippled Ireland formally applied Sunday for a massive EU-IMF loan to stem the flight of capital from its banks, joining Greece in a step unthinkable only a few years ago when Ireland was a booming Celtic Tiger and the economic envy of Europe.

European Union finance ministers quickly agreed in principle to the bailout, saying it “is warranted to safeguard financial stability in the EU and euro area.” But all sides said further weeks of negotiations loomed to define the fund’s terms, conditions and precise size.

Ireland’s crisis, set off by its foundering banks, drove up borrowing costs not only for Ireland but for other weak links in the eurozone such as Spain and Portugal. Ireland’s agreement takes some pressure off those countries, but they still may end up needing bailouts of their own.

The European Central Bank — which oversees monetary policy for the 16-nation eurozone and first raised alarm bells about a renewed cash crisis in Dublin banks — said the aid would “contribute to ensuring the stability of the Irish banking system.” Sweden and Britain, not members of the euro currency, said they also were willing to provide bilateral loans to Ireland.

Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan spent much of Sunday talking to other eurozone financial chiefs about conditions they would place on the emergency aid package taking shape.

Lenihan said Ireland needed less than euro100 billion ($140 billion) to use as a credit line for its state-backed banks, which are losing deposits and struggling to borrow funds on open markets. He said the loan facility could last anywhere from three to nine years.

International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said his organization “stands ready to join this effort, including through a multiyear loan.” He said IMF experts already in Dublin would “hold swift discussions on an economic program with the Irish authorities, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank.”

Ireland has been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by its fateful 2008 decision to insure its banks against all losses — a bill that is swelling beyond euro50 billion ($69 billion) and driving Ireland’s deficit into uncharted territory.

The country had long resisted a bailout, but Lenihan said it was now painfully clear that Ireland needed “financial firepower” immediately to complement its own cutthroat plans for recovery.

This country of 4.5 million now faces at least four more years of deep budget cuts and tax hikes totaling at least euro15 billion ($20.5 billion) just to get its deficit — bloated this year to a European record of 32 percent of GDP — back to the eurozone’s limit of 3 percent by 2014.

The European Central Bank and other eurozone members had been pressing behind the scenes for Ireland — long struggling to come to grips with the true scale of its banking losses — to accept a bailout that would reassure investors the country won’t, and can’t, go bankrupt.

The economically struggling governments of Spain and Portugal, in particular, had criticized Ireland’s recent determination to keep going it alone. Ireland’s inability to stop its financial bleeding has fueled investor fears of wider eurozone defaults and driven up those countries’ borrowing costs on bond markets.

But even with Ireland seeking aid, financial analysts say Spain and Portugal remain on course for potential bailouts of their own. Spain is fighting Europe’s highest unemployment rate and Portugal is seen as doing too little to restructure an unusually uncompetitive economy.

Ireland’s move comes just six months after the EU and IMF organized a euro110 billion ($150 billion) bailout of Greece and declared a euro750 billion ($1.05 trillion) safety net for any other eurozone members facing the risk of imminent loan defaults. It demonstrates that creating the three-layered fund didn’t, by itself, reassure global investors that it would be safe, or smart, to keep lending to the eurozone’s weakest members.

Economists question whether the economies of Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece will grow sufficiently to build their tax bases and permit them to keep financing, never mind paying down, their debts. The euro, however, has shown some resiliency in the tumult so far, remaining relatively strong against the U.S. dollar.

Lenihan said Ireland most needed a “contingency” fund from which Irish banks could borrow. He said the funds would “not necessarily” be used and emphasized that the government’s own operations are fully funded through mid-2011.

The rapid pace of Sunday’s humiliating Irish U-turn surprised many analysts, given how Lenihan and Ireland’s deeply unpopular prime minister, Brian Cowen, appeared in recent days to be in denial that Ireland needed a cent of foreign aid.

More than 30 banking experts from the IMF, ECB and European Commission began arriving in Dublin only on Thursday to begin poring over the books and projections of the government, treasury and banks, a mammoth task expected to take weeks.

Ireland’s precipitous fall has been tied to the fate of its overgrown banks, which received access to mountains of cheap money once Ireland joined the eurozone in 1999. The Dublin banks bet the bulk of their borrowed funds on rampant property markets in Ireland, Britain and the United States, a strategy that paid rich dividends until 2008, when investors began to see the Irish banking system as a house of cards.

When the most reckless speculator, Anglo Irish Bank, faced bankruptcy in September 2008, it and other Irish banks persuaded Lenihan and aides that they faced only short-term cash problems, not a terminal collapse of their loan books.

Lenihan announced that Ireland would insure all deposits — and, much more critically, the banks’ massive borrowing from overseas investors — against any default, an unprecedented move.

At the time, Lenihan billed his fateful decision as “the cheapest bailout in history” and claimed it wouldn’t cost the Irish taxpayer a penny. The presumption was that confidence would return and Ireland’s lending would resume its runaway trend.

But in the two years since, Lenihan has nationalized Anglo and two other small banks and taken major stakes in the country’s two dominant banks, Allied Irish and Bank of Ireland. The flight of foreign capital began accelerating again in the summer amid renewed doubts that the government understood the full scale of its losses.

Lenihan and the Irish Central Bank responded in September by estimating the final bill at euro45 billion to euro50 billion ($62 billion to $69 billion). Investors, initially relieved to have a figure, quietly resumed their withdrawal from Irish banks and bond markets in mid-October, driving up the borrowing costs for Portugal and Spain, which face their own deficit and debt crises.

Over the past two months Cowen and his 15-member Cabinet have been drafting a four-year austerity plan for Ireland that is expected to be unveiled later this week.

It seeks to close the gap between Ireland’s spending, currently running at euro50 billion, and depressed tax revenues of just euro31 billion. It proposes the toughest steps in the 2011 budget, when euro4.5 billion will be cut from spending and euro1.5 billion in new taxes imposed — steps that threaten to drive Ireland’s moribund economy into recession and civil unrest.

Both Cowen and Lenihan have stressed that Ireland’s 12.5 percent rate of tax on business profits — its most powerful lure for attracting and keeping 600 U.S. companies with bases in Ireland — will not be touched no matter what happens.

France, Germany and other eurozone members have repeatedly criticized the rate as unfair and say it should be raised now given the depth of Ireland’s red ink.

However, IMF and EU leaders negotiating the bailout terms with Ireland have said they don’t intend to dictate any specific tax reforms to Ireland, only to ensure that targets for cutting spending and raising taxes overall are met. Ireland’s right to set its own tax rates also has been enshrined in a series of EU treaties, making any strong-arm tactics now unlikely.

Ireland’s 2011 budget, however, could yet be torpedoed by its own divided lawmakers.

The budget faces a difficult passage through parliament when it is unveiled Dec. 7. Cowen has an undependable three-vote majority that is expected to disappear by the spring as byelections, or special elections, are held to fill seats.

Cowen and his long-dominant Fianna Fail party are languishing at record lows in opinion polls. The latest survey published in the Sunday Business Post newspaper said Fianna Fail has just 17 percent support, whereas the two main opposition parties, Fine Gael and Labour, command 33 percent and 27 percent respectively. Those two parties are widely expected to form a center-left government after Cowen loses his majority, which would force an early election.

Reflecting the national mood, the Sunday Independent newspaper displayed the photos of Ireland’s 15 Cabinet ministers on its front page, expressed hope that the IMF would order the Irish political class to take huge cuts in positions, pay and benefits — and called for Fianna Fail’s destruction at the next election.

“Slaughter them after Christmas,” the Sunday Independent’s lead editorial urged.

___

Associated Press Writers Raphael G. Satter in London and Gabriele Steinhauser in Brussels contributed to this report.

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