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IMF director arrested in sex attack

New York Times

NEW YORK - International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken off an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport just minutes before it was to take off for Paris on Saturday and arrested in connection with the sexual attack of a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel, authorities said.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was widely expected to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency, was apprehended by detectives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the first class section of the jetliner, and immediately turned over to detectives from the Manhattan Special Victims squad, which covers the part of Manhattan where the hotel is, officials said.

The New York Police Department took Strauss-Kahn into custody, and he was "being questioned in connection with the sexual assault of a hotel chambermaid earlier this afternoon," Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said Saturday evening. "He is being arrested for a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment."

Browne said it was about 1 p.m. Saturday when the chambermaid, a 32-year-old woman, entered Strauss-Kahn's suite to clean it, and "he came out of the bathroom, fully naked, and attempted to sexually assault her." At some point, the woman broke free, Browne said, and "she fled, reported it to other hotel personnel, who called 911. When the police arrived, he was not there."

Browne said Strauss-Kahn appeared to have left in a hurry. Investigators found his cellphone in the room, which he had left behind, and one law enforcement official said the investigation in the hotel room uncovered forensic evidence that would contain DNA.

A spokeswoman for the office of the Manhattan district attorney said that prosecutors were investigating the matter and were expected to bring formal criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn by early today.

The former French finance minister was apprehended on the plane at 4:40 p.m.