WASHINGTON – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the embattled managing director of the International Monetary Fund, resigned Wednesday, saying he wanted to devote “all his energy” to battle the sexual assault charges he faces in New York.
The IMF’s executive board released a letter from the French executive Wednesday in which he denied the allegations lodged against him but said that with “sadness” he felt he must resign.
Strauss-Kahn, who faced increasing international pressure to quit, announced his decision on the eve of a bail hearing today that could have spelled the end of his leadership of the IMF anyway. He faces charges of assaulting a maid at a New York hotel.
The maid, a 32-year-old immigrant from the West African nation of Guinea, told police that the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn came out of the bathroom naked, chased her down and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
If a New York judge denies bail for Strauss-Kahn or imposes highly restrictive conditions on his freedom, the IMF’s executive board would have expected him to resign, two senior IMF officials said earlier Wednesday. If he didn’t, the board could have removed him on the grounds that he couldn’t lead the IMF from a jail cell or far from its Washington headquarters.
The IMF’s statement late Wednesday said the process of choosing a new leader would begin, but in the meantime John Lipsky would remain acting managing director.