The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has gone from a $3,000-a-night suite at a luxury New York hotel to an 11-by-13 foot cell on Rikers Island in a matter of days.
Strauss-Kahn, called DSK in online parlance, was denied bail Monday and sent to New York's Rikers Island jail complex, where he will be held at least until a court proceeding on Friday.
Because he is a high-profile detainee, he will be held at the jail in protective custody, CNN reports. He will stay in a cell alone and have no contact with the 14,000 other inmates.
A hotel maid claims Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her Saturday at the Sofitel hotel in midtown New York.
The maid, who police say is a 32-year-old African immigrant living in the Bronx with a teenage daughter, said she entered the room on Saturday and saw a man run naked from the bathroom to the bedroom. The maid apologized and tried to leave, but the man allegedly grabbed her, shut and locked the door and pulled her into the bathroom where he forced her to perform oral sex and tried to remove her underwear, according to reports quoting a law enforcement official.
Authorities charged Strauss-Kahn with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching, the Associated Press reports. The most serious of the charges could put him away for a quarter century.
Strauss-Kahn has denied the charges and will plead not guilty, his lawyer has stated.
Meanwhile, allegations of similar attacks by the IMF chief began to emerge Monday.
A writer in France, Tristane Banon, 31, is expected to file a criminal complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in 2002, her lawyer told AP. A French lawmaker from a rival political party has accused him of attacking other maids at the Sofitel hotel during previous trips. And prosecutors in New York say they have reports of at least one other case.
Strauss-Kahn's arrest has upset the financial world. As GlobalPost's Thomas Mucha writes, "turmoil at the top of such a key institution isn't good for anyone."
"From a global economy perspective, the timing of the Strauss-Kahn fiasco is about as bad as it gets. That's because the IMF's help will be needed in Greece. It will be needed in Portugal. It will be needed in Spain. And it has been needed in Italy, Ireland, Belgium and just about every other European country during this ongoing debt crisis — one that could still derail the global economic recovery."
The arrest and images of Strauss-Kahn being led by New York police in handcuffs has also caused turmoil in France, where the IMF chief had been expected to unseat President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.
He has instead, as GlobalPost's Mort Rosenblum writes from Paris, "shamed a society that is not easy to shock."
Much of France's shock has now turned to anger and suspicion, the New York Times writes, with many questioning the police account, the public images of him in handcuffs and the possibility that he was set up.
“In the file, there are a lot of contradictions beginning with the escape, which was acknowledged today didn’t happen," Socialist politician Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, an ally of Strauss-Kahn, told the Times.
He was referring to the initial account that Strauss-Kahn fled the hotel to get on a plane to leave the country. It now appears he might have left the hotel, had lunch with his daughter and then gone to the airport.
In this timeline of events by Reuters, Strauss-Kahn allegedly attacked the hotel maid at about noon on Saturday. He then checked out, had lunch and boarded the Air France plane at 4 PM.
At 4:40 PM, police boarded the plane, minutes before it took off, and detained the IMF chief.