Strauss-Kahn starts New York house arrest

21st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn began his house arrest in New York late Friday after arriving from jail at an elegant apartment building just off Wall Street

A police source confirmed to AFP that the now notorious French politician and fallen head of the International Monetary Fund had been transferred to a secured apartment inside the residential building.

"He's here," the officer, who asked not to be identified said, as other police set up metal barricades to keep away a huge crowd of journalists.

Residents were shocked at the news and by the rowdy media presence that included rows of parked satellite TV trucks and radio reporters thrusting microphones in the faces of people entering or leaving the building.

"I don't like it, I find it a little bit scary," said Gemma Harding, a glamorous looking woman who emerged dressed up for a night out and was dazzled by the camera flashes.

Strauss-Kahn, accused of trying to rape a chambermaid in the luxury Sofitel hotel in Manhattan last week, left the tough Rikers Island prison in the afternoon after a judge signed off on a highly restrictive bail package.

The building at 71 Broadway, right between the landmarks of Ground Zero and Wall Street, boasts marble columns in the entrance, a gym and a roof terrace where residents are allowed to barbeque.

But Strauss-Kahn, who denies the accusations against him, will enjoy few luxuries.

Under the bail conditions he is confined to this apartment, with armed guards and an electronic monitoring bracelet, except for medical visits.

He is expected to stay there just three or four days while his lawyers and the security firm Stroz Friedberg managing his detention finds a more permanent residence that he can occupy throughout what could be a months-long trial process.

Once in that residence he will be allowed out for religious services, legal and court visits.

The current arrangement was hurriedly made after plans for him to live in a plush apartment rented by his wife, Anne Sinclair, reportedly fell through when residents in the complex objected.

© 2011 AFP

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