Ex-IMF chief has 'incentive to flee': prosecution

19th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a "substantial incentive to flee" if bailed, a lawyer prosecuting the former IMF chief on sexual assault and attempt rape charges told a court Thursday.

Strauss-Kahn "has the personal, political and financial means to flee. He is an international figure who truly has global influence," prosecutor John McConell said, seeking to persuade the judge to deny bail.

The lawyer called the defense's offer to post $1 million "unreasonable" and said the court had seen nothing about Strauss-Kahn's assets.

The $4 million home in Washington mentioned in the latest Strauss-Kahn offer is not in his name but in that of his American-born wife, French television journalist Anne Sinclair, McConnell said.

"We are in possession right now of only one passport," he said. "We simply don't know what other documents he has access to, or what he could get."

"He has the stature and resources not to be a fugitive on the run. He has the assets to live a life of ease" in many parts of the world, the prosecutor argued.

The prosecution contends that Strauss-Kahn, 62, was seen rushing from his hotel room on Saturday fleeing the scene after sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a 32-year-old chambermaid, an immigrant from West Africa.

His flight was "unusually hasty," McConnell said. "His exit from that crime scene certainly suggests that something had gone on."

"This court must be satisfied that the defendant will come back," the lawyer said, calling a defense offer for him to be under electronic surveillance "really only a bracelet with a battery. That is not sufficient."

"He does represent an existential flight risk," McConnell said.

"He is an international figure who truly has global influence and that influence gives him potential access to enormous resources and a network of contacts throughout the world."

The defense argues that Strauss-Kahn is innocent of all charges and did not flee the hotel but simply went to a lunch date with his daughter, who will testify to that affect.

They are offering to have him wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and post bail of $1 million in an attempt to free him from the notorious Rikers Island jail in New York pending trial.

An earlier bail offer was turned down by a different judge in a first hearing on Monday.

© 2011 AFP

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