Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and the man French Socialists hope will be the next occupant of the Elysée Palace, was arrested at JFK airport in New York on Saturday afternoon accused of a sex attack on a Times Square hotel maid earlier in the day.
He was taken off an Air France flight by officers from the Port Authority of New York and turned over to Manhattan police, according to a spokesman from the agency. Plainclothes officers boarded the flight at 4.45pm, moments before take-off, and took the 62-year-old out of the first-class cabin and into custody. He had been due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.
“It was 10 minutes before its scheduled departure,” said John Kelly, a Port Authority spokesman.
Port Authority officers were acting on information from the New York Police Department, whose detectives had been investigating a brutal alleged attack on a woman employee at the Sofitel New York on West 44th Street in the heart of the city’s theatre district.
The 32-year-old woman told police that she entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at about 1pm on Saturday and he emerged from the bedroom naked, threw her down and tried to sexually assault her, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. She broke free and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened who called the police.
When New York City police detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his mobile phone and other personal items. “It looked like he got out of there in a hurry,” Browne added.
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