Friday, May 20, 2011

Best Stocks : Former IMF chief wins bail; succession race rages

Dominique Strauss-Kahn won bail on Thursday but faced one more night in a New York jail, hours after he quit as head of the IMF under the cloud of sex crime charges. His resignation intensified a race for global finance's top job. It has gone to Europe for 65 years and the favorite is now French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde but fast-growing developing economies want to put up their own candidate.

A judge granted Strauss-Kahn $1 million bail and ordered him to be detained in a New York apartment. He will be subject to electronic monitoring under the watch of an armed guard, costing him $200,000 a month, a prosecutor estimated. Prosecutors argued vehemently the French national should remain behind bars, calling him a flight risk.

"The defendant in this case has shown a propensity for impulsive criminal conduct," said prosecutor John McConnell.

He said the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her on Saturday, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea, had told a "compelling and unwavering story."

Strauss-Kahn denies the charges and his lawyers say he will plead not guilty. His bail package was due to be signed on Friday and an arraignment hearing, when he will formally answer the charges, was set for June 6. The case represents a spectacular fall from grace for a man held in high esteem for his role in tackling the financial crisis of 2007-09 and being central to ongoing efforts to keep Europe's debt crisis under control.

Dressed in a blue shirt and gray jacket, Strauss-Kahn looked tired and whispered occasionally to his lawyer during Thursday's proceedings. He was flanked by seven guards as his wife and one of his daughters watched from the public gallery. The charges that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape the maid and committed other sex offenses, plus the prospect of a lengthy legal process, have ruined his once strong-looking chances of winning France's presidential election next year. --- read more

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