Whatever happened to DSK?

Remember Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who was arrested for the alleged rape of a hotel maid in New York before walking away free when the New York prosecutor decided there wasn’t a case because of the woman’s credibility (though she insisted she was raped)?

Anyway, he’s back in the news. He has a new consulting company and is on the lecture circuit. He’s also facing criminal charges involving a connection to a prostitution ring in France. His defense: The authorities are trying to “criminalize lust.”

According to the New York Times:

In France, “Libertinage” has a long history in the culture, dating from a 16th-century religious sect of libertines. But the most perplexing question in the Strauss-Kahn affair is how a career politician with ambition to lead one of Europe’s most powerful nations was blinded to the possibility that his zest for sex parties could present a liability, or risk blackmail.

The exclusive orgies called “parties fines” — lavish Champagne affairs costing around $13,000 each — were organized as a roving international circuit from Paris to Washington by businessmen seeking to ingratiate themselves with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Some of that money, according to a lawyer for the main host, ultimately paid for prostitutes because of a shortage of women at the mixed soirees orchestrated largely for the benefit of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who sometimes sought sex with three or four women.

On Thursday, Mr. Strauss-Kahn broke a long silence to acknowledge that perhaps his double life as an unrestrained libertine was a little outré.

A little??!! Is that like being a little pregnant?

The New York case should have gone to trial.

DSK is free … but he’ll never be clear

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as expected, walked today:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn became a free man Tuesday when a judge ended the sexual assault case against him at the request of prosecutors, who said the hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund chief couldn’t be trusted.

Though evidence showed Strauss-Kahn had a sexual encounter with Nafissatou Diallo in his hotel suite more than three months ago, prosecutors said the accuser was not credible because of lies she has told, including an earlier false rape claim.

The only way prosecutors were going to get a conviction was if the victim was a nun or under 12 years old. So the fact that the victim has lied in the past made the case unwinnable, according to the New York DA.

But bottom line is he had sex with the woman. And she had injuries. For anyone to say this paves the way for him making a return to French politics and a possible shot at the French presidency is an abomination. Other women have come forth and said he attacked them. He cheats on his wife. He was in a sex scandal last year, and Nicolas Sarkozy surely had a file on him that would have been used if they were opponents in the presidential election.

The guy’s a predator, and now he knows he can get away with it. That makes him dangerous.

DSK rape case nears end

The Manhattan district attorney is giving up the prosecution. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to walk on Tuesday:

Three months after authorizing Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s swift indictment after his arrest on sexual assault charges, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has decided to ask a judge to dismiss the case, a person briefed on the matter said on Sunday….

While there has been widespread speculation that Mr. Vance would drop the case, it is nonetheless an extraordinary turn of events, for both Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, an enormously powerful international banker and a leading candidate for the French presidency before his arrest, and his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, a 33-year-old immigrant from Guinea.

Her credibility as a witness began to crumble after prosecutors discovered what they characterized as a series of lies she had told, though none bore directly on her version of the encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

The criminal case is over. A civil suit is in the process. But Strauss-Kahn will be walking down the Champs d’Elysees on his way to the Louvre a lot sooner than thought.

DSK is going to walk

Big developments in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape proceedings today. As a result, he’s no longer under house arrest, he’s free to go wherever he wants within the U.S. and he gets his $1 million in bail money back.

While prosecutors were investigating the circumstances of the sexual assault case against DSK, they were also doing a comprehensive investigation of the Guinea hotel maid who has been identified as his accuser. According to the New York Times:

Prosecutors disclosed that the woman had admitted lying in her application for asylum from Guinea. According to their letter, she “fabricated the statement with the assistance of a male who provided her with a cassette recording” that she memorized. She also said that her claim that she had been the victim of a gang rape in Guinea was a lie.

The woman also acknowledged that she had misrepresented her income to qualify for her housing, and that she had declared a friend’s child as a dependent on tax returns — in addition to her own daughter — to increase her tax refund.


According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.

So, what does it all mean?

The trial still goes on. Although the judge in the case released Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance, ended the house arrest and gave back the bail money, he didn’t drop the charges.

I don’t know who’s guilty and who’s lying, but honestly, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that everything revealed about the accuser is true. The lying to get asylum is something that likely happens every day by people trying to find a way into the U.S. The misrepresentation on her income to get housing has been going on as long as there have been renters and landlords. Declaring a friends child as a dependent to get a bigger tax return, isn’t surprising either. I’ve heard stories about people who declare their pets as dependents.

But on the other hand, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that everything the accuser said happened in the hotel room is true. The evidence shows there was a sexual encounter between the two, and the woman sustained injuries.

Let’s face it, in a trial of this magnitude, when the accused is known world-wide, is rich and is powerful, the only way to a clear conviction is either the accuser has to be a nun or an underage virgin. And even then, conviction with any jail time is tenuous. Don’t think so? Ask Roman Polanski.

Does the fact that Straus-Kahn is known to be a serial philanderer who’s been accused by more than one woman of inappropriate sexual contact mean that he is a rapist? Who knows? Does the fact that the accuser lied about her reasons for asylum and her finances and talked to a convict mean that she wasn’t raped? Who knows?

DSK and the accuser are the only ones who know what happened. If the case goes to trial, it will be a “he said/she said” battle. What happened today is the prosecution took a look at the whole case and thought “Rich powerful guy vs. lying poor immigrant.” Who’s going to win that battle?

Don’t be surprised if Strauss-Kahn is walking down the Champs d’Elysees on his way to the Louvre by the end of the year.

Lagarde gets the top IMF job

2011 G-20 Presser

Image by IMF via Flickr

Christine Lagarde of France was chosen as the new head of the International Monetary Fund today. It was a done deal when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the U.S. would endorse her over the other candidate for the job, Mexico’s central bank governor.

So the general rule of international finance prevails: Europe gets the IMF, the U.S. gets the World Bank. The developing world is put on hold.

So now that Lagarde, the soon-to-be former French finance minister, has the job. Here is one of the first things she’s going to have to deal with:

This is Athens on Tuesday, when Greek Unions called a general strike against the austerity measures being proposed to keep the country out of bankruptcy. The Greek Parliament is calling for wage cuts, tax hikes and selling public companies to the private sectors. If that doesn’t happen, foreign lenders, specifically the European Union and the IMF, won’t lend Greece the money it needs to avoid default.

As you can see, the people are not happy. It’s pretty much expected the measures will pass. And you can pretty much expect the demonstrations are going to be more violent. And even if Greece gets the money, chances are it still won’t get out of trouble.

And Greece isn’t the only western European country on the verge of collapse. Keep an eye on Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain when the Greek plan fails. So Lagarde is going to be extremely busy and will be under a lot of pressure to make things right. Given the situation, it’s doubtful anyone can succeed here.

(Oh, and here’s the obligatory “Lagarde is the first woman to head the IMF” line, which is kind of ironic since the previous IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is awaiting a rape trial in New York.)

DSK pleads not guilty

While the world is distracted by the stupidity of the Twitter twit Anthony Weiner, this is the more serious sex scandal playing out in New York:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper.

In doing so, Mr. Strauss-Kahn uttered his first public words since the episode in the Sofitel New York, saying “not guilty” in a heavy French accent — setting the stage for a criminal trial in which Mr. Strauss-Kahn is expected to face his accuser.

Indeed, a lawyer for the housekeeper said on Monday that the woman intends to testify against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

The lawyer specifically said:

“The victim wants you to know that all of Strauss-Kahn’s power, money and influence throughout the world will not keep the truth of what he did to her in that hotel room from coming out….

“And that despite the smear campaign that is being committed against her, she is standing up for her dignity as a woman. She’s standing up for her self-respect as a woman. And she is standing up for all of the women and children around the world who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused and are too afraid to say something.”

DSK’s house arrest (photo and video)

When you’re very rich, and a New York judge puts you under house arrest as you await trial for a serious felony, this is the kind of place you have to live in.

Click the link and get a video tour of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s new living quarters, uploaded by NBC New York. Sure beats a cell in Rikers Island. Hell, sure beats a house in the suburbs.