NEW YORK — IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody for questioning in an alleged sexual assault, New York City police told AFP.
Strauss-Kahn, widely expected to be a candidate for president of France in 2012, was removed from an Air France flight minutes before its scheduled departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.
"We took him into custody and we handed him over to the New York City police department," an official for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We did it at the request of NYPD."
The New York Times reported that NYPD detectives were "investigating a brutal attack of a woman employee at the hotel Sofitel New York," earlier in the day. The employee was a maid, the newspaper reported.
NYPD spokesman Officer Michael DeBonis told AFP by phone late Saturday that Strauss-Kahn has "been taken into custody. He's being questioned about an alleged sexual assault. He has not been charged."
DeBonis would not comment on any other details.
In Washington, an International Monetary Fund spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
The Port Authority official said Strauss-Kahn was removed from the flight 10 minutes before departure.
"Ten minutes before a flight takes off? That doesn't happen too often," the official said. "He did not resist."
IJohn Sheehan, director of security at Sofitel New York, told AFP by phone that they are cooperating with the probe.
"The Sofitel is working very closely with the NYPD with their investigation," Sheehan said. "The safety and security of our clients and team members are of the utmost priority to us."
Sheehan would not comment further.
Strauss-Kahn's stint at the helm of the IMF in Washington does not officially end until September 2012, several months after the scheduled date of France's vote.
But the French political world has been buzzing with speculation that the man popularly known as "DSK" would bring a premature end to his tenure and throw his hat in the ring.
Some opinion polls have suggested he would win the vote if he were to run.