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IMF CHIEF STEPS DOWN

Times wires

The International Monetary Fund says its embattled managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, intends to resign, effective immediately, as he faces sexual assault charges in New York.

The IMF's executive board released a letter from the French executive late Wednesday in which he denied the allegations lodged against him but said that with "great sadness" he felt compelled to resign. He said he was thinking of his family and that he wanted to protect the IMF.

Strauss-Kahn has agreed to post a $1 million cash bail and submit to electronic monitoring of his movements and 24-hour house arrest at his daughter's apartment in New York in an effort to end his confinement at Rikers Island jail while awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.

A hearing on the proposed deal has been set for today. The IMF chief and possible candidate for the French presidency has also surrendered his French passport and diplomatic travel documents.

As his lawyers worked for his release, investigators pressed the hunt for forensic evidence to back up the claims of a hotel maid who alleges that a nude Strauss-Kahn attacked her as she tried to clean his suite at the Sofitel in Manhattan.

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