Strauss-Kahn resigns from IMF; Update: Europe demands EU chief for IMF

posted at 8:42 am on May 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

From behind bars at Riker’s Island, the head of the International Monetary Fund finally decided to part company with his organization, ending increasing speculation that the IMF might sever the relationship on its own.  Dominique Strauss-Kahn, charged with conducting a sexual assault on a hotel maid last weekend, said he would leave the IMF “with infinite sadness” to protect it in the weeks ahead:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing attempted rape charges in New York, announced his resignation late Wednesday night. …

The resignation, while providing clarity to an organization reeling from the accusations facing its managing director, immediately sets off a scramble about who will lead the powerful organization and what that will mean for the global economy.

Under Strauss-Kahn, the Washington-based IMF has taken a muscular approach toward fixing Europe’s financial woes, advocating financial bailouts for ailing nations such as Greece and Portugal. Without Strauss-Kahn at the helm, Europe is at risk of losing a key source of financial support in its efforts to contain the debt crisis buffeting the continent.

Strauss-Kahn continues to deny all charges against him in his resignation, but circumstances left him little choice.  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner called for his resignation, and without support from the US, leading the IMF would be difficult even under normal circumstances.  Leading it from Riker’s Island would be not just practically impossible, but would draw certain embarrassing comparisons to leadership of criminal organizations.  It was an untenable situation for the IMF, and had Strauss-Kahn delayed much longer, the IMF would almost certainly have acted on its own, at least to suspend Strauss-Kahn indefinitely.

The issue for the EU is whether it can reclaim the top spot at IMF.  For the moment, American John Lipsky is in charge, but the IMF won’t keep an American in that slot; the US gets the top spot at the World Bank by tradition, while Europe runs the IMF.  This arrangement to balance the influence of the West on global markets was already under increased criticism as non-Western powers like China and others emerging from the developing world want a shot at running both organizations.  Two years ago, the US and EU agreed to an “open, transparent, and merit-based process” for appointing leadership — but with the EU staggering through debt crises in several of its member states, it needs that spot perhaps more than it has in decades.  Don’t be surprised if the “very, very strong, able candidates from the developing world” get rejection letters this go-around.

In France, meanwhile, it seems that the initial round of America-bashing over the notion that a presumably great man like Strauss-Kahn could get arrested over a maid (sacre bleu!) has given way to a little more honesty.  Both National Journal and Time Magazine report today that Strauss-Kahn’s reputation as a womanizer glossed over a well-known cruel streak that didn’t exist with other mainstream French politicians.  National Journal also notes that the French presidential election may be the one thing least impacted by the scandal because of it:

Ironically, the arena least likely to be changed by Strauss-Kahn’s downfall may well be the one that is most being talked about: next year’s French presidential election. Although Strauss-Kahn had been polling well against incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy as an undeclared candidate, there was talk in France that DSK might not have survived the rigors of an election campaign even if he hadn’t run into trouble in New York.

Apart from the African maid at the Sofitel hotel in New York, Strauss-Kahn to date has been publicly accused of sexual assault by only one other woman, Tristane Banon, a French journalist. But stories of DSK’s alleged aggressive behavior toward women have long been circulating in France. Even before his arrest, some of his wealthy backers in the financial community had suggested that his reputation was darker than that of previous womanizing French politicians, such as Francois Mitterrand or Valery Giscard d’Estaing. “This wasn’t the problem of a charismatic, powerful man attracting women. It was uglier,” according to one international financier who has been privy to those discussions.

Time finds a lawyer in France who says that there were more than one victim in his country, although they felt too intimidated to hold Strauss-Kahn to account, and another who related an almost identical experience:

When news of the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn broke in France, Emmanuel Pierrat remembered the young woman who came seeking legal advice about half a decade ago. She said she had had an encounter with Strauss-Kahn and, says the lawyer Pierrat, “wanted to know whether I thought what I heard would form the basis for a solid legal case against him.” Pierrat says the news out of New York City last weekend was “something I had heard before” because of what the young woman several years ago had described as “the modus operandi of the attacker, [whom] she said was Strauss-Kahn.” Says Pierrat: [It] “was almost identical to the details [described by] the woman [who said she was] attacked Sunday in New York.” …

Recalling his experience with the client to TIME, Pierrat says he told the young woman that he believed she had a case. “There were sufficient elements for a legal complaint to be filed and for a judicial investigation into them to be granted,” he says. But in the end, the woman chose not to go ahead. Pierrat explains that it was “because she knew there’d be a lot of public and media attention, knew she’d come under pressure, be cast as a liar, a woman who was looking for trouble, get tagged as the villain who took down Dominique Strauss-Kahn — or tried to. She knew there’d be a high price to pay for trying to do the right thing and knew she would probably be tarred for it.”

“In addition to my client,” says Pierrat, “I also have a personal friend who came to me and described an unwanted, forceful sexual advance by Strauss-Kahn that she was forced to literally fight off. They’re all essentially the same account, the same kind of behavior, with only the places changed.”

Strauss-Kahn’s Socialists have insisted that the allegations don’t sound at all like their man.  But the extent to which his party covers for him can be seen in this anecdote, in which the mother of the one woman who did try to blow the whistle waited four years to finally back her daughter.  Why did she wait to blow the whistle?  Because to interrupt Strauss-Kahn’s journey to “greatness” would have been, er, rude:

A regional Socialist Party official stepped up on Monday to say that her daughter had come under sexual attack during a 2002 interview with Strauss-Kahn. The official, Anne Mansouret, repeated the allegations made by her daughter Tristane Banon during a 2007 TV program about how a well-known politician [Strauss-Kahn's name was bleeped out] tried to overpower her with a sexual embrace. What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn? She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form. She also said that because Strauss-Kahn’s second wife was Banon’s godmother, blowing the whistle on the alleged attacker would create rifts within Mansouret’s circle of family, friends and intimates.

This may be the most disturbing and revealing story in the entire scandal, apart from the attacks themselves.

Update: As I predicted, all of that talk of an “open, transparent, and merit-based process” went right out the window during the crisis:

The European Commission insisted Thursday that next leader of the International Monetary Fund must come from the 27-nation European Union, a stance backed by the Germany, the continent’s economic heavyweight.

Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF chief Wednesday, saying he wants to devote “all his energy” to fighting sexual assault charges in New York.

The move heated up cross-border debate over his successor, with Europe aggressively staking its traditional claim to the job to ensure that Europe’s debt crisis is given priority. Fast-growing nations such as China, Brazil and South Africa are trying to break Europe’s grip on an organization empowered to direct billions of dollars to stabilize the global economy.

Even without this public demand, it would almost certainly have worked out that way.  The EU cannot afford to let the Euro-centric IMF out of its control now or for the next few years.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Bye.

Good Lt on May 19, 2011 at 8:44 AM

What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn? She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

No, no.

Don’t point out that a fellow socialist destined for “greatness” is a molesting pervert and an attempted rapist.

It would look bad politically.

They sound like Democrats.

Good Lt on May 19, 2011 at 8:46 AM

the US gets the top spot at the World Bank by tradition, while Europe runs the IMF

And, yet, it’s all our money. We’re so kind, aren’t we?

KingGold on May 19, 2011 at 8:46 AM

derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

Sacrificing her daughter to the glories of socialism.
*facepalm*

itsnotaboutme on May 19, 2011 at 8:47 AM

From behind bars at Riker’s Island, the head of the International Monetary Fund finally decided to part company with his organization, ending increasing speculation that the IMF might sever the relationship on its own.

Ha! At least he resigned. I read about the head of some enviro-whacko organization who was in prison and wouldn’t resign and the group couldn’t get anything done. I guess they didn’t believe in moral turpitude clauses for their board members…

Blake on May 19, 2011 at 8:50 AM

She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

True poetic justice would proceed thusly – the Socialist candidate doesn’t get to the runoff in the 2012 election, and is instead replaced by the fascist Marine Le Pen. Sarkozy wins with over 75% of the vote.

KingGold on May 19, 2011 at 8:50 AM

She also said that because Strauss-Kahn’s second wife was Banon’s godmother, blowing the whistle on the alleged attacker would create rifts within Mansouret’s circle of family, friends and intimates.

Oh no…NO…anything but that! Imagine losing a few invites to those all-important A-list cocktail parties.

Sorry, Daughter, but you just need to take one for the team. Yeah you got raped but Mommy Dearest has her social circle to think of, so keep quiet.

Bishop on May 19, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Strauss-Kahn’s Socialists have insisted that the allegations don’t sound at all like their man. But the extent to which his party covers for him can be seen in this anecdote, in which the mother of the one woman who did try to blow the whistle waited four years to finally back her daughter. Why did she wait to blow the whistle? Because to interrupt Strauss-Kahn’s journey to “greatness” would have been, er, rude:

Socialists have a deep moral corruption. Willingly sacrificing one’s daughter for the “greater good” is merely supporting the greater evil. The means are the end.

rbj on May 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

That Kennedy cousin down in Florida who beat the rape charge was like this, too. He would physically pounce on women. There were a number of women, med students and residents who had been subjected to his attacks, who would have testified at the trial but the judge would not allow it.

Blake on May 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn?

This is just stunning.

I can now see why they have sympathy for palestinian terrorists. Both love their ideology more than their children.

cozmo on May 19, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Reminds me of that ghastly article someone wrote about how Mary Jo Kopechne probably forgave (or looked down from Heaven in approval over) Ted because he became such a “great” figure in American politics.

Disgusting.

Aquateen Hungerforce on May 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

I read the comments to the Telegraph article that was linked yesterday. They think we are all crazy and how dare we accuse this man.

Blake on May 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Sounds just like the MSM covering up for John Edwards, Bill Clinton… all the way back to JFK and FDR.

cool breeze on May 19, 2011 at 8:56 AM

He can drop off his resume at aACORN or the SEIU. They can give him temp work till trial.

Ooops, I see he makes bail, never to return.

seven on May 19, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Once liberals fully gain power, they no longer have to worry about these petty problems. Rape camps; death camps… as long as Socialists act collectively, literally nothing they ever do is a crime.

logis on May 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM

So socialists practice a form of socialist sex? Man, those guys are committed!

cartooner on May 19, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Ah, zee Franch! Zay air zo seevalized.

I am ayvair zo glad vee air nawzink like zem at alls.

tree hugging sister on May 19, 2011 at 9:03 AM

…as long as Socialists act collectively, literally nothing they ever do is a crime.

logis on May 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Democracy: 51 people screwing 49.

cartooner on May 19, 2011 at 9:05 AM

I understand why all these women wouldn’t want to come forward, I don’t know that I would have either. If these allegations are true, the woman in the New York hotel has become a champion for women’s rights, a heroine, and has finally put a stop to a lecherous predator. Good for her.

scalleywag on May 19, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Strauss-Kahn continues to deny all charges against him in his resignation, but circumstances left him little choice. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner called for his resignation, and without support from the US, leading the IMF would be difficult even under normal circumstances.

Isn’t Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Obama’s monetary policies “raping” future generations of fiscal solvency? By extension, shouldn’t these actions be considered “a criminal offense”? Who’s really getting raped here?

Rovin on May 19, 2011 at 9:09 AM

That Kennedy cousin down in Florida who beat the rape charge was like this, too. He would physically pounce on women. There were a number of women, med students and residents who had been subjected to his attacks, who would have testified at the trial but the judge would not allow it.

Blake on May 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Wow, there certainly are a lot of Activist Judges in Florida.

Del Dolemonte on May 19, 2011 at 9:11 AM

What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn? She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

That’s truly despicable and turns my stomach.

scalleywag on May 19, 2011 at 9:12 AM

derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form

Wait…what? Wow just like over here…with obama’s new democrat party.

tinkerthinker on May 19, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Not to worry, Spooky Dude will pick him up, dust him off, and put him back in action somewhere.

petefrt on May 19, 2011 at 9:26 AM

If Obama was at the end of his 8 year reign, he would be perfect for running the IMF. His record on creating growth and spending have no match.

seven on May 19, 2011 at 9:28 AM

So its imperative Euros run the IMF, being their loan-default rate has been so successful throughout Europe…

Odie1941 on May 19, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Resigned? He’s no Bill Clinton!

honsy on May 19, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Hey, let’s pare back our funding for IMF and World Bank until we get our own debt under control.

petefrt on May 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM

The Tristane Banon story and cover-up also bears a passing resemblance to the Paul Jones-Arkansas State Trooper tale of 1992, when it comes to state officials and the big media really not wanting to say or do anything about the story.

As for the new talking points, it sounds like the French left’s version of the old “Fox and the Grapes” Aesop’s fable — it’s not a big deal that Strauss-Kahn got nailed on the rape charge, because we probably weren’t going to have him for a candidate anyway, as if all those domestic incidents that they had been working as hard as possible to cover up would have come out and the victims not denounced and trashed as liars during the campaign.

jon1979 on May 19, 2011 at 9:39 AM

China PBOC: New IMF Leadership Should Reflect New World Order

“The new IMF leadership needs to reflect changes in the world economic order and be more representative of emerging market economies, Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said Thursday in his first public comments since the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

“The senior management team of the IMF should better reflect changes in world economic patterns and should be more representative of emerging market economies,” he said.”

Looks like the BRICs disagree with Europe.

Viator on May 19, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Put the IMF on the Curb with the Rest of the Garbage

“We need to ask ourselves why we allow these folks the control of what remains of our wealth, and the very control of our lives. Whether DSK is found guilty or not, the very idea that a guy who stays in a $3000 a night hotel suite can run for president of France for the Socialist Party kind of says it all, when it comes to being twice removed from the real world, doesn’t it?

I see lots of people writing about how the IMF needs to change, or something, because it will have to play a major role in the financial problems of countries all over in the future, but I’m thinking it should just be absolved and abolished. The IMF has only ever served the needs of financial elites, like the World Bank has, and since the controlling interests behind both firmly control the politics of all relevant nations these days, why not put them by the side of the curb with all the other garbage?”

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/05/ecb-ostrich-maneuver-euro-zone-comedy.html

Viator on May 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Ben Stein hardest hit.

ebrown2 on May 19, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Someone tell Billy Jeff we got some cat trying to muscle in on his turf.

Alden Pyle on May 19, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Reminds me of that ghastly article someone wrote about how Mary Jo Kopechne probably forgave (or looked down from Heaven in approval over) Ted

From a January 5, 2003 Boston Globe Magazine profile of Kennedy:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age,” wrote the Globe’s Charles Pierce.

Emperor Norton on May 19, 2011 at 9:55 AM

France has lost its own Bill Clinton.
Good for France!

profitsbeard on May 19, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Now I get it. When Europe’s Jewish men behave like nice, housebroken, respectful pets they are despised to the point of genocidal hatred, but when they emulate Nietzsche’s “blond beast” they are destined for “greatness.” There’s a lesson in there for Israelis, somewhere.

Seth Halpern on May 19, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I understand why all these women wouldn’t want to come forward, I don’t know that I would have either. If these allegations are true, the woman in the New York hotel has become a champion for women’s rights, a heroine, and has finally put a stop to a lecherous predator. Good for her.

scalleywag on May 19, 2011 at 9:08 AM

The French women attacked by Strauss-Kahn were probably afraid of legal or physical retaliation if they spoke up–DSK is an extremely wealthy former Finance Minister, who could afford the best lawyers. French labor unions are also in the pocket of the Socialist Party, but are even more powerful and aggressive (including physically) than their American counterparts, and a woman who accuses DSK would fear being faced with a gang of thugs more terrifying than DSK’s “junk”.

The Sofitel maid who was allegedly attacked by DSK had less to fear, because DSK has very little political influence in America.

DSK is like a French Bill Clinton–he does it “because he can” buy off or intimidate anyone who confronts him…in France.

Steve Z on May 19, 2011 at 10:24 AM

What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn? She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

Reagan’s 11th Commandment for the French left.

He’s a SOCIALIST rapist, destined for SOCIALIST greatness!

Steve Z on May 19, 2011 at 10:28 AM

DSM is out of work? I just hope that he can scrap by on his Golden Parachute. At least Rikers is giving him free room and board while he works out the details.

Laurence on May 19, 2011 at 10:51 AM

They need someone who will work diligently to keep shoveling money into the PIIGS.

Some might compare that job to Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentics, of course. But it certainly pays better.

JEM on May 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

The EU cannot afford to let the Euro-centric IMF out of its control now or for the next few years.

Fox. Chickens.

pedestrian on May 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Best scenario-have him post 1 million dollar bail and then skip.

1 The whole world will know he is guilty
2 We are spared the expense of a long, drawn-out trial in which the U.S. will be accused of anti-European “bias”.
3 We get $1 million.
4 France is stuck with him.

MaiDee on May 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM

What took so long for Mansouret to back up her daughter and name Strauss-Kahn? She told French TV that she had dissuaded her daughter from filing charges because Strauss-Kahn was en route to greatness — and derailing the ascent of a fellow Socialist Party official would be bad form.

This is exactly why the Kopechne parents went quiet on the murderer Kennedy, -because they were good little democratics and they didn’t want to cause the fat slob any votes.

slickwillie2001 on May 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Even without this public demand, it would almost certainly have worked out that way. The EU cannot afford to let the Euro-centric IMF out of its control now or for the next few years.

Why? They certainly demanded that a non-American be selected to World Bank when Wolfowit resigned.

promachus on May 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM