Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IMF chief accused of rape, Euro in danger of collapse

New York - IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn languished in a cell at the city's 14,000 bed lockup on Rikers Island while European bankers maneuvered to shore up the battered Euro.

Once a top contender for President of France, the disgraced head of the world's emergency loan department for troubled currencies had recently quipped that the only barriers to his political career were money, the fact that he's a Socialist, and his Jewishness.

Over the weekend, Mr. Strauss-Kahn allegedly assaulted a chamber maid in a $3,000 a day suite at an exclusive Manhattan hotel and was aboard an Air France jet en route to his home in Paris and a Monday emergency meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels when the cops nabbed him.

The woman told police she entered the suite, which she thought was unoccupied, when he emerged from a bedroom in the nude and chased her down a hallway in a sexual assault he claims was actually consensual.

The allegations do not appear to be his first rodeo. French writer Tristane Banon has accused him of a similar assault, saying he behaved like “a rutting chimpanzee” in an encounter she told the UK Guardian occurred some 7 years in the past.

Prosecutors told the arraigning magistrate they feared if he made it home, they would be powerless to make him return to face the new charges.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, a flamboyant mouthpiece from Brooklyn who has defended gangsta' rappers, mafiosi and drug-addicted stars, told a judge that the banker should be released on a 1 million Euro bond - with a promise to remain in New York. Mr. Brafman is the son of Orthodox Holocaust survivors who took refuge in Brooklyn after their liberation from a concentration camp following World War II, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.

The judge turned down the request.

Austria's finance minister suggested Mr. Strauss-Kahn should step down to avoid damaging the reputation of the International Monetary Fund.

“Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself, that he is hurting the institution,” Maria Fekter told journalists as she arrived at an emergency meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels, there to consider a bail-out of Portuguese currency and further shoring up the Greek financial system.

Elena Salgado, Spain's finance minister, sided with Ms. Fekter. “If I had to show my solidarity and support for someone it would be toward the woman who has been assaulted, if that is really the case that she has been,” she said.

The Euro is considered at risk due to the collapse of the Greek financial system and the wavering status of “PIGS” (Portuguese, Irish, Greek, Spanish) central banks, all of which are tied to the stronger systems of the German, Austrian and French banks.

The U.S. has a 17% share in the $980 billion European bailout fund. Member nations of the IMF/World Bank system contribute a proportionate amount based on the size of their economic strength.

The International Monetary Fund is a mechanism for loaning money to distressed credit systems of troubled nations at risk of currency and credit crises.

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