Lagarde takes up IMF post replacing Strauss-Kahn

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Former French finance minister Christine Lagarde took up her post as the new head of the International Monetary Fund Tuesday, after countryman Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit in May to fight sexual assault charges.

Lagarde, 55, is committed to serving five years as managing director of the world's key crisis lender after three previous directors, all Europeans, left the job early, according to an IMF statement of her terms of appointment.

Lagarde was given a pay package of $467,940 in annual salary net of any taxes, and $83,760 in allowances for maintaining a "scale of living appropriate" to her position.

Her terms of appointment require her to "to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity, impartiality and discretion."

"You shall strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in your conduct," they said.

Such terms were not in the contract signed by her predecessor in 2007.

Strauss-Kahn resigned on May 18, five days after he was arrested in New York on allegations that he tried to rape a hotel chambermaid.

Freed from house arrest in New York last week after prosecutors admitted serious concerns over the credibility of the accuser, he remains in the United States to fight the charges, which he denies but still haven't been dropped.

© 2011 AFP

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