Serbia woos ex-IMF head Strauss-Kahn for advisory role

BELGRADE Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:51am EDT

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn departs the New York State Supreme Courthouse in New York, August 23, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn departs the New York State Supreme Courthouse in New York, August 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia has approached former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn about the possibility of him joining the government in an advisory role as it seeks foreign advisors to assist a revamped cabinet, a government source said.

The Balkan country averted an early election on Wednesday but risked unnerving foreign investors as the largest party in the coalition government agreed to the sacking of the finance minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, leader of the biggest party in the coalition, said a foreigner without ties to domestic politics would be less inclined to corruption and he wanted at least two foreigners in the new cabinet.

"We need these people who know more than us, and from whom our people can learn a lot. I will push for this and I don't care who it bothers," Vucic, who is in charge of the government's anti-corruption drive, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Serbia will need to show it is fighting corruption when it begins talks, set for January, on its planned accession to the European Union.

The source said government aides had already approached people close to Strauss-Kahn about the possibility of the former French politician being appointed an advisor and said Vucic was due to talk to him in the next two days.

Strauss-Kahn, 64, could not be reached for comment.

The government was also approaching potential candidates from Britain to fill advisory roles, the source said, but declined to disclose any names.

Strauss-Kahn joined the board of Russian state oil major Rosneft two weeks ago.

His career at the International Monetary Fund and French presidential hopes disintegrated in 2011 when he was accused of sexually assaulting a chambermaid in a New York hotel. The charges were later dropped.

Separately, a French court said last week it would try Strauss-Kahn on charges of pimping. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said there were no legal grounds to try him.

(Reporting by Valerie Hopkins; Editing by Susan Fenton)