Strauss-Kahn becomes Madoff-style cyber prisoner
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is getting a taste of the Bernard Madoff's treatment as he adjusts his lifestyle from champagne socialism to battling sex crime charges.
The fallen IMF leader had to agree to become a cyber-prisoner of the same security-intelligence company which guarded notorious financier Madoff to convince a New York judge to give him a chance to plot a defense on bail.
The security firm Stroz Friedberg used one of its apartments at the Empire Building on Broadway as a temporary bolt-hole for Strauss-Kahn, when residents blocked him from moving to one his wife Anne Sinclair had found.
The armed guard at the door of his temporary apartment, the video cameras and other monitoring equipment that will be added when he finds a more permanent refuge, the GPS bracelet he is wearing. All come from Stroz Friedberg.
The 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn, whose hopes of being Socialist Party candidate in France's 2012 presidential election disappeared with the attempted rape charges against him, has even been signed into the custody of Stroz Friedberg, rather than his wife.
The case is being handled by Stroz Frieberg managing director Anthony Valenti -- a former Citigroup bank vice president and before that a top investigator for the US Attorney's office -- who also handled the Madoff case.
The company has refused requests for interviews about its work. But it is publicly proud of the way it handled Madoff's house arrest at his Upper East Side home.
Because of the "far-reaching implications" of Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme, there was "an unusually high level of risk, involving death threats against the confessed schemer, potentially dangerous interfaces with the public, and a circus-like atmosphere of media attention," Stroz Frieberg said in a case study on its website.
The round-the-clock monitoring of Madoff was conducted by "retired supervisory federal agents and high ranking New York City police officers" who detailed every entry and exit to the residence.
Stroz Friedberg said it "created a dedicated, secure wireless network to ensure that Mr. Madoff did not exit except for authorized purposes."
The company said it brought its engagement "to a successful conclusion, without incident, when it escorted Mr. Madoff to his plea hearing from which he was remanded to federal prison on March 12, 2009."
Strauss-Kahn can expect the same attention and he has to pay the company's fees which prosecutors estimated at more than $200,000 a month.
The former managing director of the International Monetary Fund faces a major change from the high finance dinners at his $4 million home in the elite Georgetown district of Washington.
He can only leave the temporary apartment for a medical emergency and after relocating can only go to the offices of his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, to see a doctor, the court or to a synagogue.
Strauss-Kahn is under curfew from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am will only be allowed a maximum of four non-family visitors at any one time.
Despite being a man with an admitted love of the high life, Strauss-Kahn lived a fairly discreet life in Washington, where he had run the IMF since 2007, working long days before his chauffeur took him home, according to journalists who cover the institution.
Strauss-Kahn liked Georgetown restaurants however and the couple often invited friends to their home. Fifteen people stayed there for Barack Obama's inauguration as US president in January 2009.
The Georgetown mansion, the two family apartments in Paris and their hideaway in the Moroccan resort of Marrakesh are now a long way away.
While out of the Rikers island prison, Strauss-Kahn is also getting the Madoff treatment from the New York media. The New York Post called Madoff "Ponzi king" and "arch-swindler." Strauss-Kahn has been dubbed "Pepe le Pew" after the Warner Brothers cartoon skunk.
© 2011 AFP