US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is in “no position” to run the agency, and recent reports on the alleged rapist now state he is on suicide watch at the Rikers Island jail complex
“Of course, I can't comment on the case, but he's obviously not in the position to run the IMF, and I think it's important that the board of the IMF formally put in place for a period somebody to act as managing director,” Geithner said at New York City’s Harvard Club, the New York Post reports.
Deemed a potential flight risk, the disgraced Strauss-Kahn was denied bail on Monday over sexual assault allegations involving a maid at New York’s Sofitel Hotel this past Saturday. He was removed from a Paris-bound flight moments before takeoff and detained.
Seen as a leading contender to French President Nicolas Sarkozy in that country’s next election, Strauss- Kahn is now under pressure to resign his post as managing director of the IMF.
“They have in John Lipsky -- it’s not the Constitutional order of succession but it is the legal order of succession, and he is a very capable person, a lot of experience, so I think that’s the appropriate step to take,” Geithner added.
Lipsky, a former JP Morgan executive, is No. 2 at the IMF and has currently taken over as acting managing director while Strauss-Kahn sits in jail.
The 62-year-old Frenchman faces seven charges including committing a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted rape. He is due back in court on Friday.
Strauss-Kahn’s stature in international circles has apparently allowed him to have an entire jail wing to himself. Stephen Morello, Department of Correction spokesman, said Strauss-Kahn is in a wing with 14 cells, all empty except for his according to the AP.
Every inmate arriving at Rikers is given a mental health evaluation to help determine their suicide risk. Norman Seabrook, corrections officers union president, noted the beleaguered IMF head said or did something during the evaluation to raise doctors’ concerns. Because of that, Strauss-Kahn is monitored 24 hours per day.
AP reports a law enforcement official has confirmed Strauss-Kahn is on suicide watch.
Maria Fekter, Austria’s finance minister, suggested Tuesday Strauss-Kahn should consider removing himself from the IMF post. “Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself that he is hurting the institution,” she said when arriving at a European finance ministers meeting in Brussels, CBS reports.