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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What to do about the IMF?

In case you have not heard, the IMF (former) Dominique Strauss-Khan was arrested and charged with the sexual assault of a hotel maid. His second in command, John Lipsky, has assumed the role of Managing Director.

Apparently, Mr. Strauss Khan forced himself on a hotel maid in his New York Hotel- lady of African descent- and caused her great distress. Reports from the lady says that he chased her around the room after he appeared from his bathroom naked and ready for action. That's rather unfortunate.

This is not the first time that Strauss-Khan, who has been labeled "The Great Seducer" by his circle of people that know him well, has been in trouble because of his sexual practices. While nothing this severe has ever been reported, he was near expulsion from the IMF because of his relationship with a former employee at the bank. The Hungarian born woman has since left the fund for another international organization and the affair was squashed. Not so easily will this sexual assault charge be dropped however.

Currently Mr. Strauss-Khan was held on bail and now has been released on 1 million dollars bail with a 5 million dollar bond. He was on suicide watch over the past two days but has been released as of today.

This leaves the IMF in a very difficult position. European heads were in France- Strauss-Khan's home country- discussion what to do about the European Debt Crisis. The fund is supposed to be leading the charge on this debt restructuring effort for weaker countries and his presence was greatly expected to lead these discussion. But instead of him being present for the high-level meeting, he was locked away in Rikers Island and the meetings, in turn, discussed what to do about the scandal and how to replace Mr. Strauss-Khan, considering the severity of the situation on both sides.

To make matters even more interesting, Mr. Strauss Khan was a leading candidate for president running under the French Social Party and was set to challenge Nicholas Sarkozy in the upcoming French elections. That most obviously has been set aside as he has to answer charges in New York for sexual assault. But it does make the situation seem as if it is an all out collapse of the front runner for the French Socialist Party.

People wonder if he was set up? And if he was set up, then by whom and for what reason? No doubt conspiracy theories will swirl. I for one do not like the way he was treated, even if it was assault. He is a very important world figure and diplomat and such immunity against certain treatment was expected.

We will monitor this story as things progress. As it stands now, Strauss-Khan has been replaced by his second in command, he is released on bail, he will not be leaving the USA any time soon, and the fund is moving forward with the discussions in Europe about dealing with the Debt Crisis.
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