Hunt for lost phone halted Strauss-Kahn flight: police

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IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was tracked down to John F. Kennedy airport hours after an alleged sexual assault when he phoned his New York hotel looking for his mobile telephone, police said Sunday.

Straus-Kahn was escorted from an Air France flight on Saturday just minutes before take-off after he contacted the hotel and told staff where he was so they could bring him his phone, police spokesman John Grimpel confirmed.

That was "correct," Grimpel replied asked whether the circumstances as reported by the Wall Street Journal were right.

Strauss-Kahn was charged Sunday with the sexual assault and attempted rape of a 32-year-old chambermaid in the luxury Sofitel hotel, near Times Square.

Police had earlier said he appeared to have left the hotel in a hurry as he had forgotten his mobile telephone and some personal belongings.

Grimpel added the IMF chief, who is also a leading French politician, was still being held in a police station late Sunday as the police was conducting a delicate investigation.

But he would "most likely" be transfered to a New York court to be arraigned before 1:00 am (0500 GMT) when the court was due to close, Grimpel added.

He refused to give any details of the alleged assault, but added the woman could go back to work "if she wants."

© 2011 AFP

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