IMF chief Strauss-Kahn steps down, setting off leadership scramble

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is facing charges of attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York City, resigned late Wednesday. 

In a statement, Strauss-Kahn strenuously denied the allegations against him and said he was stepping down in an effort to “protect this institution.”

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“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,” he said in a statement posted on the IMF website. “I think at this time first of my wife — whom I love more than anything — of my children, of my family, of my friends.

“I think also of my colleagues at the Fund; together we have accomplished such great things over the last three years and more."

He denied the allegations that he sexually attacked and attempted to rape a housekeeper at an upscale hotel in Manhattan “with the greatest possible firmness.”

"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.

He is being held without bail in New York’s Rikers Island jail complex.

Adding to the pressure on Strauss-Kahn to step aside, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said earlier this week that he was “not in a position to run” the IMF, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Wednesday called for him to resign or be fired.
 
"The criminal allegations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn are alarming and undermine confidence in the institution at a critical juncture in our economic history," Kirk said from the Senate floor Wednesday. "Mr. Strauss-Kahn has forfeited our confidence and should resign or be fired from his position at the IMF."

It was not immediately clear who would serve as his permanent replacement; the U.S. has not made clear its choice. 

John Lipsky will remain as acting managing director and the IMF "will communicate in the near future on the Executive Board’s process of selecting a new Managing Director."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys would make an effort Thursday to get him released from jail. They have offered to post $1 million in cash bail and said he would submit to around-the-clock home detention in New York City as well as electronic monitoring, the paper said.