Strauss-Kahn returns to IMF, gets warm applause

WASHINGTON Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:16pm EDT

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the IMF, leaves his provisional home in New York August 26, 2011. REUTERS/Kena Betancur

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the IMF, leaves his provisional home in New York August 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kena Betancur

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn apologized to the institution's staff in his first return visit since charges of sexual assault against him were dropped last week. He was greeted with warm applause.

Strauss-Kahn, who was with his wife French TV personality wife Anne Sinclair, drove himself to the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and met briefly with his successor and fellow French national Christine Lagarde.

He later addressed a packed auditorium out of reach of the cameras of televisions crews and photographers who had camped outside the IMF all day waiting for the former director.

"He received a very warm welcome," said Paulo Nogueira Batista, who represents Brazil and a group of eight Latin American countries, after the meeting.

"It reflects the fact that he is very much appreciated in the institution," Nogueira Batista said, adding: "People clapped for very long periods."

Another witness, who asked not to be identified, said staff broke into spontaneous applause before Strauss-Kahn began speaking. He did not talk about his court case but did note that the U.S. justice system had been fair, the witness said.

The IMF said the visit by Strauss-Kahn was personal and arranged at his request.

His visit to the IMF had been greeted ahead of time with dismay by some IMF staff, while others said they felt sorry for Strauss-Kahn and wanted to pay tribute to his time at the helm of the global lender.

Strauss-Kahn led the IMF, the world's economic firefighter, as managing director for four years before he resigned on May 18 after his shock arrest in New York on criminal charges of sexual assault and attempted rape involving a hotel maid.

In a dramatic development last week, prosecutors asked that the charges against him be dismissed after they lost faith in the credibility of his accuser, an immigrant from Guinea.

Strauss-Kahn had been expected to be voted France's next president in the 2012 election before his arrest.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Anthony Boadle)

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Comments (4)
Gillyp wrote:
This would make a good book and one day maybe it will because i don’t think the truth is out there yet!

Aug 30, 2011 2:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
I am afraid that my own position is that the staff of the IMF has just done itself and the institution a disservice by giving a warm applause to DSK, especially when they applauded even before he spoke (meaning, before he ‘apologized to the staff’. Being present in a packed auditorium and listening to DSK with respect would have been fully appropriate, given that the New York case against him was dismissed. But applauding him indicates parti pris, especially since there is at least one other unsettled case against him. Too bad : with the episode of the troubled circumstances in which Claudio Loser and his team had been made to leve the IMF in the 1980′s still unhealed in cognoscenti’s minds, the staff of the IMF has lost a chance to reaffirm the exacting standards of discipline required of their best membmers, even when Senior Management and the Board of Directors, collectively or severally, might err.

Aug 30, 2011 8:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Archie1954 wrote:
When you think about many of the great leaders of the world you must recall their shortcomings. Think of Jefferson and his slave lover, Kennedy and his women, FDR and his mistress. None of that takes away from what they did for the country and the world. This gentleman loves women, he is French after all and he made a mistake, a mistake that did not amount to criminal activity. Please remember that.

Aug 30, 2011 11:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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