IMF forgives its Director's Amourous Affairs
The International Monetary Fund said Saturday that it would stand by its managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, despite concluding that he had shown poor judgment in a sexual affair with a subordinate.
After receiving a report from an outside law firm, the executive board of the fund said there was no evidence Strauss-Kahn had abused his power or shown favoritism in his brief relationship with a senior official at the fund, who later resigned to take a job in London.
Still, the longest-serving member of the board, A. Shakour Shaalan, described the affair as a "serious error of judgment" on the part of Strauss-Kahn, 59, a former French finance minister who took charge a year ago and is now steering the fund through the most serious global financial crisis in decades.
In a statement, Strauss-Kahn said, "I am grateful that the board has confirmed that there was no abuse of authority on my part, but I accept that this incident represents a serious error of judgment."
The inquiry, by the firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, concerned a brief relationship between Strauss-Kahn and Piroska Nagy, then an official in the Africa department. Nagy left the fund in August as part of a buyout of nearly 600 employees instituted by Strauss-Kahn to cut costs.
At issue was whether Strauss-Kahn had sexually harassed Nagy, pressed her to leave the fund or used his authority to give her preferential treatment in her buyout. In all cases, the report found no evidence.
Last week, Strauss-Kahn issued an apology to the fund's staff, Nagy and his wife, Anne Sinclair, a French television journalist. Sinclair wrote on her personal Web log that her husband's affair had been a "one-night stand," and that the couple had "turned the page."
Strauss-Kahn's affair came at an awkward time, just as the American mortgage crisis jumped borders to become a global financial upheaval, destabilizing countries from Iceland to Argentina and creating a list of would-be borrowers from the fund.
On Friday, Iceland reached a tentative agreement with the fund for a $2 billion emergency loan to stabilize its economy, which has been devastated by the collapse of its three main banks. Loans to Hungary and Ukraine could be announced next week, fund officials said.
Beyond these efforts, the fund is trying to arrange a huge credit line for countries like Brazil and South Korea, which have sound economies but are suffering from a lack of access to foreign currency.
Strauss-Kahn has been a whirlwind of activity, appearing with President George W. Bush at a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 7 industrialized countries earlier this month and presiding over the fund's annual meeting in Washington.
Still, Shaalan said that despite retaining the support of the board, Strauss-Kahn would have to work to regain the trust of the staff, particularly female employees. "There are a number of staff who are not at all happy, and do not approve of the managing director's behavior," he said.
IMF Investigates Intern's Appointment
WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund is looking at whether its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, influenced the appointment of a 26-year-old political protégé to a sought-after internship in the IMF's research department.
The managing director's connection with Emilie Byhet was a focus of discussions this summer among a handful of IMF board members, who were fielding complaints from staffers about arbitrary personnel decisions. At the time, the staff was being reduced by about 500 slots. An IMF spokesman said that "there is no evidence of favoritism in this case," in which Mr. Strauss-Kahn's office recommended Ms. Byhet for the slot.
[International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, at IMF headquarters in Washington on Oct. 13. Prominent French politicians have lined up to support him amid an abuse-of-power probe.] Associated Press
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, at IMF headquarters in Washington on Oct. 13. Prominent French politicians have lined up to support him amid an abuse-of-power probe.
The board members decided against bringing the issue before the whole board, or intervening more broadly, individuals familiar with the deliberations said. Instead, they referred the matter to the legal department, which didn't take further action.
Ms. Byhet's internship ended in August. A man who said his name was Mr. Byhet, in Ms. Byhet's hometown of Normandy, declined to take a message for Emilie. A spokesman for Mr. Strauss-Kahn said Ms. Byhet and her parents are friends of Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his wife.
The episode is being re-examined as part of a larger look at Mr. Strauss-Kahn's personal behavior at the IMF. The IMF has retained the firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP to investigate whether Mr. Strauss-Kahn abused his position in connection with a sexual relationship he had with a subordinate, Piroska Nagy, at the time a senior official in the IMF's Africa department. To determine whether Mr. Strauss-Kahn abused his power, the probe is looking at a wide variety of topics.
On Monday, Mr. Strauss-Kahn sent an email to the staff apologizing "for my error in initiating this relationship." Though he didn't cite Ms. Nagy by name, he called her a "talented economist and consummate professional." He said he had apologized to his wife and family.
Over the weekend, Anne Sinclair, the wife of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, said on her blog that she and her husband were expecting the outcome of the IMF investigation "calmly and dispassionately." Ms. Sinclair, a prominent French TV journalist, said that the "one-night affair" was behind them and that "we love each other as much as on the day we met."
Mr. Strauss-Kahn said that the incident "constituted an error of judgment on my part, for which I take full responsibility." But he said, "I firmly believe that I have not abused my position."
Prominent French politicians have lined up behind Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Jean-Claude Trichet, the French president of the European Central Bank, said in a Sunday radio interview he was convinced that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would be cleared of allegations that he abused his position. Luc Chatel, a French government spokesman, also offered support in a radio interview.
The allegations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn are a major distraction for the IMF, which is trying to show that it can play a central role in restructuring financial institutions to avoid a replay of the current global financial crisis. The Byhet matter could complicate its efforts to maintain that focus.
[Piroska Nagy, the IMF staffer with whom the fund's chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had an affair.] Times of London
Piroska Nagy, the IMF staffer with whom the fund's chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had an affair.
In the summer of 2005, Ms. Byhet joined the campaign team of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was seeking the Socialist nomination for the 2007 presidential election. According to two people who worked on the team, Ms. Byhet was often seen at La Planche (The Plank), the nickname of Mr. Strauss-Kahn's campaign building.
"She attended all his political meetings," a former college mate of Ms. Byhet at the Institute for Political Studies said. "She admired Mr. Strauss-Kahn and seriously believed he had his chance."
But Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 59, wasn't nominated, and in September 2007 he became IMF chief. Ms. Byhet was awarded an internship in February 2008. According to three individuals familiar with the process, the IMF human resources department usually sends a list of around 10 candidates for departments to choose from.
In this instance, a human resources manager in mid-January sent over Ms. Byhet's name alone. "I would very much appreciate your assistance in assigning her" as an intern, the manager wrote to the research department. Two individuals say that an HR manager also called the research department to say that "management," which in IMF lingo usually means the IMF managing director, favored the appointment.
The IMF spokesman added that "there is no evidence of any direct involvement" in the process by Mr. Strauss-Kahn. However, he noted "that it is accurate to say her name was forwarded to our Human Resources department by the Managing Director's office." He called that "routine practice."
While research interns are usually Ph.D. candidates in economics, Ms. Byhet had a master's degree in public policy and communications. She listed her first "professional experience" as an "internship with the campaign team of Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn."
The research department decided to accept the candidacy, in part to accommodate what they saw as a request by Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Her internship was scheduled to last from Feb. 1 to April 30, but was extended through August after she got ill in the middle of her program.
An IMF spokesman said that "standard IMF procedures" were followed in the case. Winter internships often have fewer candidates, the spokesman said, adding that the minimum standard for the position is a master's degree. According to her resume, Ms. Byhet did her undergraduate work at the Sorbonne University, where she studied economic history, and got a master's in public policy at the Institute for Political Studies.
The Wall Street Journal
Exclusive testimony : The third Strauss-Kahn affair
The Dominique Strauss-Kahn(DSK)case could be the tree that hides the forest. At high society dinner parties in Paris, the managing director for the IMF is apparently known for his amorous conquests. His supposed intimacy with a Hungarian economist at the moment has hit the headlines. But this relationship between consenting adults is, after all, inconsequential, as DSK says himself, in the mere case of a banallove exchange. Things get more serious that they appears. A video on the web shows in veiled terms that DSK could have used violence on Tristane Banon, a young journalist and novelist. If the facts are proved, the charge is terrible. The victim does not conceal them, better, she accuses the director of the IMF of bulling her.
(Translated from the French version published on Agoravox.fr) Why didn’t this video make a huge buzz on the Internet? We may ask ourselves. Because its content is breaking. Breaking, perhaps, but impossible to exploit because the protagonist’s name is censored. Yet there is no need to be a genius to know who is behind the beep... We had to ensure that our intuitions were not wrong.
In this video, Tristane Banon, a young journalist and novelist, accuses a man apparently high-ranking male official of assault with intention to rape her. Who is this man? Why all the mystery?
The scene takes place in Paris during the First Issue of Ardisson 93, Faubourg Saint-Honoré (broadcast on 5 and on 20 February 2007)
Tristane Banon is sitting around the table with other diners (Jacques Séguéla, Thierry Saussez, Jean-Michel Aphatie, Roger Hanin, Gérald Dahan, Claude Askolovitch and Hedwige Chevrillonand were also present) then says: "I was with [and the name is replaced by a long beep] with whom things went very wrong. It’s the horny chimp !". Then the host Thierry Ardisson agrees entirely with her, and says: “he is obsessed!”.
Everyone, of course, wants to know the identity of that person whose name is hidden by a beep. To find out, it was enough to ask Tristane Banon herself, who answered emphatically that it was Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The name of the politician, who in 2002 became a representative instead of a minister, and who, in early 2007, was newly appointed to the IMF, far from Paris, has been censored, but why? "I don’t know at all” Tristane Banon says to us. “What I know is that there had been a problem once when Thierry Ardisson invited me on the show Tout le monde en parle. We had talked about it at the end of my sequence, and the channel wished to withdraw altogether... The decision was taken by Télé Paris and Stéphane Simon. In any case, I’m not the one that asked for it".
Another surprising aspect: why, in February 2007, did nobody talk about this case? And why did this video disappear from the Internet as if some people wanted to permanently delete memories? The accusation by Tristane Banon is serious, but not absurd. And it is recurrent."Who has not been jammed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn ?"Danielle Evenou asked recently during a broadcast of Laurent Ruquier. The English spoken media, followed by French blogs, has also had a field day with her supposed link with Yasmina Reza.
As we know, the current director for the IMF is under fire, in the news, because of a current case that is widely been talked about; its intimate relationship with Piroska Nagy. Piroska Nagy is a Hungarian economist who worked for the IMF Africa department until last August.DSK is suspected by the international institution"for a possible abuse of power that he could be guilty of, giving a too high pay to Nagy or manoeuvring to send her to London”, according to Le Point.
Dominique Strauss-Khan doesn’t deny having been close to Ms. Piroska Nagy. However, he denies any abuse of power. The case would have ended there if people weren’t also criticizing the IMF’s director for having acted in favor of Emilie Byhet, a young woman who worked in his campaign team during the 2007 socialist primaries. He is accused of having suggested the human resources department of the IMF to grant an internship at the research department of the institution...
These cases are not to be taken lightly, but they are not as serious as the accusation that Tristane Banon launches against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. At the time, in 2002, the young woman did not dare complain. When she contacted the legal counsel they made referenceson her attacker on a strong voluminous file. But Tristane Banon decided no to pursue a
complaint. She states:
"Anyway, now I do not even know if the statute of limitations doesn’t apply. Six years have past. Initially, I wanted to complain, but after there was the story of Johnny Hallyday with his girlfriend, and it was stack together with what arrived ...What will prevent 50% of people I will cross not to believe me, they are not supposed to believe in my good faith. So I thought I had to live with that. And then what do I have to gain? More money? I don’t want his money. And if it is to sell books on this kind of reputation, frankly I would rather sell little or nothing ... And then there was simply the fact that I live alone in Paris. He is with a guy. It’s a hard guy who doesn’t always make use of very refined methods ... I don’t think he would have murdered, but I think he would possibly have beaten me...".
How did all this happen? Tristane Banon contacted Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2002. At that time, she is preparing a book, Erreurs avouées, to be published a few months later by publisher Anne Carriere, without the testimony of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. We understand why by listening to her interview on Paris Premiere:
"... He suggested that we met, he gave me an address that was unknown to me, It surprised me because I was a bit familiar with his life, more or less, so I know where he lives, I know where to find his permanence, I see where the Assembly is located. None of that.
I arrived at the address, I parked, I climb, the apartment was empty, completely empty, with a VCR, television, a bed at the end, very beautiful, it tastes good, a good man taste, sublime beams on inner courtyard, and then he gently closed the door. I put the tape immediately to record, he wanted me to take his hand so I could reply, because he said "I can’t do it if you do not hold my hand", and then after the main arm was taken, and it went a little further, so I immediately stopped ... I arrived there, I had a black turtleneck, perhaps a rolled black collar turns guys on, but stop. After that, things went from bad to worse. We ended up fighting, and the whole affair ended very violently since I told him clearly... [intervention of a guest] no no we fought on the ground, not a simple pair of smacks, I have kicked, he unclipped my bra, he tried to undo my jeans ... It ended very badly, but what impressed me was ... [editing cut]. Well finally, I left. He immediately sent me a text saying "So are you scared of me ?" with that taste of provocative attitude, and I talked to him when we fought, I used the word "rape" to scare him, but he was not scared at all, it seems that he apparently was accustomed, thereafter he didn’t stop send me messages saying "Are you scared of me ?".
According to Tristane Banon, DSK prevented her from publishing the pages that refers to him :
"Anne Carriere had the jitters, she withdrew the chapter. I think that was truly stupid because journalists had received it anyway... What I really did not appreciate was what he has done thereafter. Because until then I was not wicked, I withdrew the chapter, I did all he told me to do. There were many plans for interviews for the press, on TV, etc. and he called Marc Olivier Fogiel asking him to cancel because he was afraid that I would talk about it, especially with Fogiel because it was live. Now it is word against word. That is what Marc Olivier Fogiel told me, and I don’t see why he would lie to me. Fogiel told me when he invited me (I still have the invitation) He said listen Tristane, they threaten to cut the beam if I let you in."
We can Hold forth and ask who is this "they" capable of censoring passages which refer to him on a cable channel, to censure an editor and threatening to cancel a broadcast entertainment on a public channel.
"Strauss-Kahn has only one real problem: his relations to women, Jean Quatremer wrote in one of his notes. He often is on the verge of harassment sots. The media knows about it, but nobody dares to talk about it (we are in France). However, the IMF is an international institution with moral values. An inappropriate gesture or an explicit allusion puts you to the media spotlight."
Now, what is the IMF going to do with those revelations?
The Citizen Media