IMF releases ethics rules after scandal

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The International Monetary Fund published its new official code of conduct Thursday -- ironically the same day its chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned to face charges of alleged sexual assault in New York.

The new ethics rules set guidelines on workplace relationships and sexual harassment, and were approved on May 6 but publicized Thursday for unclear reasons.

They came five days after now ex-managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on allegations that he sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a hotel chambermaid. He has denied the charges.

In October 2008, the married Strauss-Kahn was cleared of accusations of abuse of his power as IMF chief following an inquiry into his affair with a Hungarian economist who worked in the IMF's Africa department.

The IMF board called the relationship a "serious error of judgment" but did not find him guilty of harassment or abuse of power.

IMF spokesman William Murray said Thursday that the new policies on personal relationships "are strong and consistent with best practice, including in the United States."

"A close personal relationship between a supervisor and subordinate presents a potential conflict of interest and must be reported and resolved, usually by reassignment of one of the individuals to a different work unit," he said in a statement.

"Failure to report and then resolve the potential conflict of interest constitutes misconduct and is grounds for disciplinary action," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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