IMF boss facing attempted rape charge to stay in jail after bail refused

THE head of the International Monetary Fund has been told he must remain in a New York jail until at least Friday after being refused bail following charges of attempted rape.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a key figure in the global economy and a leading French presidential hopeful, looked haggard and grim-faced at his first court appearance yesterday before a Manhattan judge following his arrest in the US on Saturday night.

Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a maid who went in to clean his penthouse suite on Saturday at a luxury hotel near Times Square. He is charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. The top count is punishable by five to 25 years in prison.

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“This battle has just begun,” his defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman told reporters outside the courthouse. “Mr Strauss-Kahn is innocent of these charges.”

Manhattan prosecutors asked the judge to hold Strauss-Kahn without bail, saying his position as IMF head meant he was wealthy and travels frequently.

“He has almost no incentive to stay in this country, and every incentive to leave,” Assistant District Attorney John A McConnell said. “If he went to France, we would have no legal mechanism to guarantee his return to this country.”

His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for a 31-year-old French novelist and journalist said yesterday she was also likely to file a criminal complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her nine years ago.

And a rival lawmaker alleged the potential French Socialist presidential candidate had victimised several maids during past stays at the luxury Sofitel hotel.