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IMF chief held for rape bid on hotel maid
Accused, a possible French presidential contender, removed from aircraft en route Paris

New York/Washington, May 15
IMF chief and possible French presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with an alleged sexual assault, including an attempted rape, on a hotel maid in New York City, the police said on Sunday.

Strauss-Kahn, a key player in the world's response to the 2007-09 financial meltdown and in Europe's ongoing debt crisis, was removed from an Air France plane minutes before it was to take off for Paris from John F Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, New York police spokesman Paul Browne said.

Browne said Strauss-Kahn was formally arrested on Sunday on charges of criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

A lawyer representing Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told Reuters in an email that the International Monetary Fund chief "will plead not guilty."

A 32-year-old maid filed a sexual assault complaint after fleeing the $3,000-a-night hotel suite at the Sofitel in Times Square where the alleged incident occurred on Saturday, Browne said.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, who has been considered a possible Socialist Party candidate in the French presidential election in April and May 2012, appeared to have fled the hotel after the incident, the police spokesman said. According to New York state law, the offence carries a potential sentence of 15-20 years.

Strauss-Kahn took over the IMF in November 2007 for a five-year term. Reuters

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