Sunday 22 April 2018

Power broker no stranger to controversy

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is regarded as one of the main architects of France's economic recovery in the late 1990s.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, known as 'DSK' in France, was born in 1949 in an affluent Paris suburb and raised partly in Morocco.

He started his career as an economics professor before becoming a legislator and later served in a Socialist government as finance minister between 1997 and 1999.

He cut the public deficit to ensure France qualified for euro membership and took steps that led to the privatisation of some state firms.

He also helped pave the way for the country's celebrated 35-hour working week.

He was forced to resign from the government of Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 1999 after he was caught up in a corruption scandal. A court later cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Mr Strauss-Kahn lost out on the Socialist nomination for the French presidential election in 2006 but was surprisingly proposed as a candidate to run the International Monetary Fund by the eventual winner, Nicolas Sarkozy, his political rival.

He became the managing director of the IMF for a five-year term in 2007, earning a salary of $420,930 per year, and additional "allowance" of $75,350.

Since taking over the job, Strauss-Kahn has won praise for making sure the fund is at the centre of global efforts to cope with the financial meltdown of 2007-09.

He introduced sweeping changes at the global institution to help countries in need.

He has also overseen changes that have given emerging market countries greater voting power in the institution.

However, Mr Strauss-Kahn is no stranger to controversy about his private and public life. He was investigated by the IMF in 2008 over possible abuse of power involving an affair with a senior IMF economist who subsequently left the fund.

The probe cleared him of abuse of power and he apologised publicly for "a serious error of judgment".

Despite being based in Washington, he has continued to spend a lot of time in France, fanning speculation that he is considering re-entering politics as a Socialist candidate for the next presidential election in France in 2012.

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