Strauss-Kahn and wife Anne Sinclair

Slog source sees Fed plot behind IMF man’s arrest

A highly-placed international lending official based in New York told The Slog last night of growing suspicions in the financial community about the arrest of IMF Head Dominic Strauss-Kahn.

“The motive is clear-cut,” said the source, “and that is to take out a key player on the team fighting to save the euro at all costs”. My informant expanded on the theme:

“DSK is firmly in the Trichet/Merkel camp of those who want a  fiscally-binding federalist Union. As the top guy at the IMF, [Strauss-Kahn] is in a powerful position to help engineer that outcome. But the Fed doesn’t want that: the Fed wants a weak competitor selling to Asia, not a well-controlled economic force under German domination”.

If suspicions about the arrest of IMF boss Dominic Strauss-Kahn were only half serious yesterday morning, during the afternoon New York time Timothy Geithner added weight to those who wonder what exactly might be going on here. He did this by being the fastest out of the starting blocks, and choosing New York’s prestigious Harvard Club to assert that the most important thing for the IMF was to find a leader who could fill Mr Strauss-Kahn’s shoes.

“He is obviously not in a position to run the IMF,” Tim told an eager press corps. I have to agree with him, but the statement of fact has been made reality entirely due to the actions of the NYPD and the local justice system. A more accurate summary of the situation  would’ve been “We have put him in a position from which he can’t run the IMF”.

But the IMF quickly named its senior deputy managing director, former US Treasury executive John Lipsky, as acting chief. As Lipsky is a highly capable and very experienced credit expert, it’s hard to see what all the rush is about. It is true that DSK’s deputy is due to leave the IMF at the end of July – but that’s ten weeks away, and a lot of material facts could emerge in that time to change everything.

We should bear in mind some of the events leading up to DSK’s incarceration. Although at present only accused of sexual crimes (non-consensual oral sex) against the as yet unnamed chambermaid, he was bundled off his Air France flight just two minutes before it took off – very dramatic cliffhanger stuff – with what witnesses have described as ‘great force’ and ‘an enormous amount of noise’.

It is alleged by the US tabloid press that DSK ‘made a dash for the airport’ immediately following the attack. But sources close to the accused deny this, saying he caught the 4.40 pm Air France flight he had been scheduled to return on. Police have, however, told the media he left personal possessions and his mobile phone in the hotel suite is his ‘hurry’ to ‘get away’. He could also, of course, have spotted the sting and realised there was no way he’d get a fair trial in New York City.

Further, although the Frenchman’s lawyer offered up £1million in bail, gave a permanent address where he could live with his sister – and accept 24/7 monitoring – the Judge turned it down. He could’ve worked from her apartment, now he can’t. Sticking him in prison doesn’t make sense (if he’s monitored, he’s monitored) unless you’re trying to make somebody look dangerous. (When he arrived at the bail hearing, the accused was handcuffed and frog-marched in).

The Slog has also been interrogating DSK’s ‘sexual past’. All I can tell you is that while the man is a philanderer, there is no hint in anything published anywhere that Strauss-Kahn gets off on forced sex. This for instance from Business Insider this morning:

‘This is not the first time he’s been involved in a sex scandal. Back in 2008 there was a story of the IMF investigating an improper sexual relationship with a subordinate. And approximately a year ago, a book described his string of extra-marital affairs.’

If we put every politician and senior businessman doing that sort of thing in a jail cell, the world’s prison population would quadruple. I accept that sexual assault is a very serious charge, and if it proves to be true, I am not in any way belittling the terrible experience the chambermaid has had. But this is a man being made to look both guilty and a threat to public safety before his trial has even begun.

As well as the indecent haste of all this, it now transpires that the chambermaid has gone into hiding. Her lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro said she was an immigrant from the West African nation of Guinea. She arrived in the US seven years ago and was living with her teenage daughter. What we don’t know is who has arranged for her to ‘go into hiding’. But Shapiro adds that his client  “had no idea who her attacker was before the police were called in”.

I’ve stayed in many large city hotels over four decades. I have yet to see a chambermaid without a list of rooms she has to clean, the numbers of the rooms, and the names of the occupants tucked into her overalls. Maybe DSK was there under an alias – but why? The press knew exactly where he was, and the paparazzi photographed him getting into and out of smart cars during his stay.

Meanwhile, two French newspapers this morning are running with stories suggesting that a majority of French citizens think DSK has been the vicitim of a set-up…..but their chosen culprit is Nicolas Sarkozy. The Slog’s New York source concludes:

“Dominic said many times that he’d be set up one day. But from our perspective here, this is about the Dollar and geopolitics, not French internal wrangling.”

Stay tuned. One feels that there is a great deal more yet to emerge.

Related: Is Sarkozy behind any of this?