Strauss-Kahn had retained an attorney and was not making statements to police, Browne said.
According to the AP report, Browne said the housekeeper told authorities she entered Strauss-Kahn’s suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel not far from Manhattan’s Times Square at about 1 p.m., and that he attacked her. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she had been told was empty, Browne said.
The wire service said the woman gave this account to police: Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, but then he dragged her into the bathroom. The woman was able to break free again, escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, and they called police, authorities said..
Browne said that when police detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his cellphone, the AP reported. “It looked like he got out of there in a hurry,” Browne said.
Police discovered that he was at the airport, and they contacted Port Authority officials, who removed Kahn from first class on the Air France flight that was scheduled to depart at 4:40 p.m. and was just about to leave the gate.
The allegations create immediate uncertainty for the Washington-based IMF, which has been playing an important role in stabilizing the global economy amid the financial crisis.
It also promises to stir up politics in France, where Strauss-Kahn is widely thought to be considering challenging French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s election. Polls have indicated that he has a good chance of defeating Sarkozy.
An IMF spokesman had no immediate comment.
About 10 minutes before Air France Flight 23 was to take off Saturday, officers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey boarded the plane and removed Strauss-Kahn, authorities said. They did not handcuff him.
The officers were acting at the behest of the NYPD and turned over the Frenchman to police shortly thereafter. The Associated Press reported that a top police spokesman said that Strauss-Kahn had been staying at the Sofitel near Times Square.
An economist and lawyer who has gained prominence while leading the IMF through one of the world’s worst financial crises, Strauss-Kahn joined the organization in 2007 with the support of the United States and many European nations.