IMF head resigns over sex scandal

US, NY: International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, New York. Strauss-Kahn resigned Thursday, May 18, 2011. (AFP Photo / Files / Pool / Emmanuel Dunand)
The International Monetary Fund’s managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned his post late on Wednesday. In a written statement, Strauss-Kahn announced that he intends to devote all his energy to fighting sexual assault charges against him.

"It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the executive board my resignation from my post of managing director of the IMF," his letter to International Monetary Fund reads.

In the letter, Strauss-Kahn denies all the accusations against him and says that he will fight for his innocence in order to protect the International Monetary Fund’s reputation.   

"I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion and especially – especially – I want to devote all my strength, all my time and all my energy to proving my innocence," he said.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a chambermaid at a New York hotel. The maid, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea, said that Strauss-Kahn attacked her in his room while she was cleaning. 

A new witness has recently emerged in Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s case, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Thursday. This is another employee of the Sofitel hotel, where the incident occurred, and the investigative team hopes he will help to shed more light on the case.

Strauss-Kahn, who has been kept at Rikers Island prison since Monday, made the second bail appeal on Wednesday. The bail hearing is expected to take place on Thursday. 

His lawyers are proposing a $1 million bond for his release. In case Dominique Strauss-Kahn is released, he will be confined to his daughter’s home in Manhattan and will have to wear a special tracking bracelet on his leg. 

According to Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer William W. Taylor III, his client’s mood is "serious but good," AP reports. "He is a strong man and he's committed to seeing this through," Taylor told journalists.

Prior to the resignation, now former IMF executive had faced a mounting pressure to step down. On Wednesday, just hours before the announcement, protesters and women’s rights activists gathered in Washington DC demanding his resignation. 

"The International Monetary Fund has a direct impact on the everyday lives of women in countries all over the world, its disrespectful to those women for him to remain at the head of the IMF," Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, was quoted by AP as saying.

The IMF announced that it is currently choosing a new leader, while John Lipsky is performing as the role of acting managing director.

The pause is fueling media speculation on who will be appointed as a new IMF head. According to the Wall Street Journal, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde comes as the leading contender to replace Strauss-Kahn. The source said, though, that there might be some other candidates emerging from developing countries.

Lagarde has refused to comment on reports of her candidacy for the position.

South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan said that Strauss-Kahn should be replaced by a non-European candidate.  "Europe must be alive to the change in the world," Gordhan was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying. "There are fundamental changes happening in the world."