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Dominique Strauss-Kahn profile

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a brilliant economist who reinvigorated the International Monetary Fund and, many believe, could have helped reconcile France with globalisation.

The 62-year old often referred to as DSK, is also a lawyer, and former Socialist finance minister.

He was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France's wealthiest suburb where Nicolas Sarkozy was mayor for 18 years.

After spending part of his childhood in Agadir, Morocco, he graduated from Paris' top business and political schools, HEC and Sciences-Po but failed the entrance exam to l'ENA, which grooms France's future presidents. He went on to get a law degree, and economics Phd.

In 1995, he was elected mayor of Sarcelles, a poor suburb of Paris, then masterminded the economic policy that helped the Socialists win legislative elections in 1997, when he became finance minister.

Mr Straus-Kahn was praised for helping France qualify for the euro and launching a massive state-funded program to create 350,000 jobs. He also had a hand in drawing up the 35-hour working week.

His ministerial stint was cut short in 1997 when he resigned in late 1999 over a Socialist Party funding scandal. He was later acquitted.

In 2006, he sought the nomination in the primaries to the Socialist presidential candidacy for the election the following year, but lost to Segolene Royal in a lacklustre performance that prompted the US ambassador to remark he lacked the "fire in the belly" to win.

The following year, with President Nicolas Sarkozy's blessing he was made chief of the International Monetary Fund just before the worst post-war financial crisis struck, winning international plaudits for his stewardship.

Meanwhile, his popularity back home began to soar.

Polls suggested that while he had not yet officially declared his candidacy, he would trounce Mr Sarkozy and beat all other potential challengers in the presidential election next April and May.

That was before his shock arrest in New York.