The Associated Press, quoting anonymous law enforcement officials in New York, said investigators had removed a section of carpet from the room to see whether it contained evidence of bodily fluids that could corroborate the hotel worker’s account of forced oral sex with Strauss-Kahn.
A New York grand jury was considering the case this week, including potential testimony from the maid. The woman, a native of Guinea, is “prepared to do whatever she is asked to do” to pursue the case, her attorney, Jeffrey Shapiro, said in televised and other interviews Wednesday.
Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys have said he plans to plead not guilty to the seven criminal counts lodged against him, which carry a possible prison term in excess of 25 years. Along with the bail hearing Thursday, Strauss-Kahn is expected in court Friday, when a grand jury is scheduled to decide whether to indict him.
On Tuesday, Geithner had said Strauss-Kahn’s legal problems meant he could not effectively run the organization he had been guiding for four years.
Even before Strauss-Kahn’s resignation, the fight to choose a successor had begun to lay bare the tension within the agency between the developed nations that still largely pay its bills and the developing countries such as China, India and Brazil that are reshaping the global economy.
For at least a decade, the IMF has discussed ending Europe’s traditional hold on the top job, and two years ago the Group of 20 economic powers — including the United States and major European nations — agreed that the IMF head “should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit-based process.”
A growing group of nations and outside analysts argue that Strauss-Kahn’s departure would be the time to make good on that promise. “There has been a clear understanding repeated in communique after communique that the time has come to change past practice” that allowed Europe to nominate a candidate that the other nations accepted, said Amar Bhattacharya, director of the Group of 24, an organization based inside the IMF that coordinates policy among developing nations. “There are very, very strong, able candidates from the developing world.”
Such a choice would partly be a matter of prestige and standing — a recognition that developing nations are beginning to drive world economic growth, account for a larger portion of its economic output and have developed a strong pool of financial talent.
But it is also about the nature of the IMF and the policies it pursues. Strauss-Kahn had shown the importance of having the right person in the job, earning credit for using his deep connections as a leading French politician to persuade other European leaders to confront a burgeoning debt crisis.
His performance, in fact, had been used as an argument for leaving the job with a European; the continent that poses some of the more difficult problems facing the global economy, it is argued, needs one of its own at the helm of the IMF.
But “for most of the history of the IMF, given the identity of the borrowers, should the head have come from the developing world?” Nicolas Veron and Arvind Subramanian, analysts at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, asked in an essay arguing that it was time to open the competition for the next IMF chief. During the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s, they wrote, there was no suggestion that an Asian should have headed the organization as it imposed strict conditions on countries such as Indonesia.
Under the fund’s governing articles, the executive board has authority to hire — and fire — the managing director virtually at will. The job can be filled by a simple majority vote, and any managing director “shall cease to hold office when the Executive Board so decides.”
But the IMF’s governing structure will not make it easy to change the traditional procedure for selecting a managing director, particularly if the United States and at least some European nations do not go along.
The 24-member executive board is designed to represent the fund’s 187 members, but voting power on the body is weighted based on each country’s financial contribution to the IMF.
In practice, that means the United States and eight European directors hold among them a voting majority; including other developed nations such as Japan, Canada and Australia, the total approaches 65 percent.
Developing countries have about 35 percent of the voting power on the board. Larger nations such as India and China have their owns seats, while other countries are grouped into constituencies.