IMF chief set to walk free from New York jail

20th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was due to be released on bail Friday, but it remained unclear exactly when or how he would escape from within the grim walls of a tough New York jail.

Strauss-Kahn, who has spent the last four nights inside Rikers Island jail after being charged with alleged sexual assault, was due to be freed wearing an electronic ankle bracelet and after posting a $1-million bail.

Before he can walk free and be reunited with his wife, former television journalist Anne Sinclair, the man once strongly tipped to be the next president of France must also put up a $5 million bond.

His lawyers will also have to satisfy judge, Michael Obus, that the upscale Manhattan apartment where he will live pending trial is ready for 24-hour surveillance, complete with video cameras, and a round-the-clock armed guard.

The tough bail conditions -- which will cost some $200,000 a month -- were imposed after the veteran French politician was indicted on charges of sexual assault, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment of a 32-year-old chambermaid.

The bail package was expected to be signed some time on Friday, which would then signal that Strauss-Kahn, 62, can be released.

Photographers and journalists were staking out a glitzy-looking apartment building on East 65th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which New York television said had been rented by Sinclair. But there was no immediate confirmation if this was to be Strauss-Kahn's new home-from-home.

A grand jury has indicted the French Socialist power baron on all seven sex crime charges arising from Saturday's alleged assault at Manhattan's luxury Sofitel hotel.

He has denied all the charges, and resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund to devote his time to fighting to clear his name. But if convicted he could face more than 74 years prison.

Strauss-Kahn has not yet entered a formal plea, but that would likely come at his next court appearance on June 6.

© 2011 AFP

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