Dominique Strauss-Kahn Biography

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the former IMF chief who faced sexual assault charges that were dismissed.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a prominent Socialist Party politician in France. In 2007, he became head of the International Monetary Fund. He is known for his business and political acumen, and being a ladies' man. In 2008, he was investigated for an affair with an IMF employee. In 2011, he was arrested for sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York City. The charges were eventually dismissed.

Early Career

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was born on April 25, 1949, in a wealthy Paris suburb to Jewish parents, Gilbert Strauss-Kahn, a lawyer, and journalist Jacqueline Fellus. The family lived in Morocco and Monaco before returning to France when Strauss-Kahn was a teenager. He graduated from the prestigious business school HEC Paris in 1971, and the elite Sciences-Po in 1972.Strauss-Kahn obtained a degree in public law, a PhD in economics, and passed a civil service examination for teaching. From 1977 to 1981, Strauss-Kahn lectured at the University of Nancy-II and the University of Nanterre.

Strauss-Kahn got involved in politics at an early age. Involved with various communist and socialist organizations in his youth, in 1981 he joined the Socialist Party under future prime minister Lionel Jospin. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Economic Planning Agency in 1981, and in 1986 he was elected to the French parliament Strauss-Kahn chaired the Finance Commission from 1988 to 1991. Climbing the ranks of French politics, he served as Minister of Industry and International Trade. He became a visible face in trade negotiations, in France and internationally.

The Parliamentary election in 1993 dealt a blow to France's Socialist party, bringing in a center-right government. On the heels of this defeat Strauss-Kahn left politics in favor of a lucrative career in the private sector, working as a corporate lawyer.

Kahn was back to politics in 1997. He served as Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry under prime minister Lionel Jospin. Strauss-Kahn played a key role in the launch of the Euro, and represented France to the IMF.

With a reputation as a brilliant, persuasive politician devoted to progressive ideals, Strauss-Kahn had no trouble climbing the ranks of French politics. From 2001 to 2007, Strauss-Kahn was reelected three times to France's National Assembly. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for the Socialist nomination for president.

Strauss-Kahn has been married three times. He has one daughter with his second wife, Brigitte Guillemette, who he married in 1984, and three daughters with his third wife, Anne Sinclair. Sinclair is a French journalist and heiress who married Strauss-Kahn in 1991.


In 2007, Strauss-Kahn became managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and presided over the institution during the global financial crisis of the late 2000s. In 2008 Strauss-Kahn was investigated for having an affair with a married subordinate, Piroska Nagy. He was cleared of harassment or favoritism, but issued a public apology. His reputation as a womanizer, however, did not disappear with the charges.

Strauss-Kahn again entered the spotlight on May 14, 2011, when a 32-year-old New York City hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo accused him of sexual assault. The allegations caused a media frenzy in the United States, and rocked French politics. Strauss-Kahn was the favored Socialist candidate for president, seen as having a strong chance at beating Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.

On May 18, 2011, four days after he was accused, Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF. He was indicted the next day on multiple counts of sexual abuse. He was released from jail on $1 million bail and a $5 million bond, and placed under house arrest. At his arraignment on June 6, Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty.

Another allegation against Strauss-Kahn surfaced in May 2011. Tristane Banon, 32-year old French journalist and god-daughter of Strauss-Kahn's second wife, said that he had raped her in 2002 when she interviewed him for a book she was writing. Banon said her mother, Anne Mansouret, convinced her not to press charges at the time. Mansouret said in an interview that she had wanted to avoid bringing to light her own affair with Strauss-Kahn. In July 2011, an preliminary investigation began into Banon's charges.

In late June 2011, it was reported that the case in New York against Strauss-Kahn was falling apart. Diallo's story appeared to have inconsistencies, and her credibility came into question. A New York judge eventually dismissed the charges in August. It remains to be seen whether or not Strauss-Kahn will be able to resuscitate his political career.

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