Dominique Strauss-Kahn is set to receive a $250,000 ‘golden parachute’ severance payment and American taxpayers will help fund it.
The former International Monetary Fund chief, who quit after being charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid, is also due to be handed a pension.
U.S. Congressmen reacted angrily to the deal but conceded they are almost powerless to stop it from going ahead.
They may be able to prevent it if they threaten to reduce or withdraw the U.S. contribution to the fund.
But this seems unlikely to happen, after the IMF admitted it had ‘no discretion’ over the deal, signed in 2007, which states Strauss-Kahn would receive a severance payout if he resigned after at least two years.
‘What does it say about the IMF that its managing director has a higher annual salary than the president of the United States, that he stays at $3,000-per-night hotel rooms, and that he gets a quarter of a million dollars in severance pay while awaiting charges for attempted rape?’ asked Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
She also questioned whether the IMF, which has said its hands are tied on the deal, have ‘more leeway’ than it was letting on.
She added: ‘American taxpayers, who pay the largest share of the IMF’s bills, are raising a lot of important questions.
“Many companies can deny severance pay to any executive fired ‘for cause.’
‘That is not happening in the IMF’s case.
‘It’s becoming more and more clear that the ‘culture of entitlement’ that is demonstrated by Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lifestyle set a tone for the organisation as a whole.’
The news comes as French sources claim that Strauss-Kahn will testify in court that the hotel chambermaid he is accused of trying to rape agreed to sex then tried to blackmail him, reports in France have revealed.
The former IMF boss will insist the 32-year-old woman ‘seduced him, had sex then demanded money’.
The woman alleges he strutted naked from the bathroom while she was cleaning his £3,000-a-night suite then grabbed her breasts and tried to pin her to his bed.
But senior political journalist Olivier Mazerolle, at France’s BFM television, said he had gleaned details of Strauss-Kahn’s legal defence from sources in the US.
He added: ‘He will maintain she agrees to sex then blackmailed him by demanding money.
‘It is of no surprise to the defence that traces of his sperm were found on her shirt, which is what you might expect after consensual sex.’
Strauss-Kahn said earlier this year that he feared he would become the victim of a plot by his political opponents to discredit him by ‘having him caught with a prostitute’.
He also challenged right-wing enemies determined for him not to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency to ‘produce if they have them’ alleged pictures of him involved in orgies.
It has also been claimed that friends of Strauss-Kahn offered the chambermaid’s impoverished family in Guinea, west Africa, a ‘seven-figure’ sum to convince her to drop the charges.
Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn’s wife Anne Sinclair has suspended her blog while the case continues.
‘You will understand the circumstances that have forced me to temporarily suspend this blog,’ the journalist posted on Two or Three Things Seen in America.
‘All I can say is, see you soon.’
The site, which she has been writing since 2008, is her account of life in the U.S.
A study by pollsters CSA revealed 57 per cent of French people think 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn was set up in a bid to ruin him.
Meanwhile House Appropriations Committee member Rep Jerry Lewis is asking for hearings to take place about the IMF directorship and what leverage the U.S. might have over the deal, according to Fox News.
His spokesman Jim Specht said: ‘He definitely wants to look at whether or not something can be done. If not now, certainly in the future.’
He said Lewis did not want to ‘cut off U.S. support’ for the IMF, but that the country should have ‘some control’ over the behaviour of the agency’s leader.
He added: ‘The IMF isn’t doing what it’s really supposed to be doing […] creating economic opportunity in undeveloped countries.’
Although there has been substantial anger in the U.S. about the pay-out, an aide to Lewis’s committee said it was in fact doubtful that pressure could be exerted.
This is because U.S. cash is not generally used for the IMF’s operating expenses, which are usually paid for by the interest on loans to other countries.
He also said the U.S. does not support the IMF in the same way it supports organisations like the United Nations.
It does not give an annual chunk of money. Instead it has a bank account with the fund. As long as it pays the U.S. interest, the IMF can use the money on deposit to finance lending elsewhere.
As the world’s largest economy, the U.S has the largest contribution, of $64 billion, on deposit with the IMF.
Strauss-Kahn’s annual salary of $421,000 and a separate $75,000-a-year allowance, the spending of which does not have to be ‘certified or justified’, were negotiated in 2007.
It promised him a severance pay-out provided he either served out his term, was fired by the board after at least a year or resigned after at least two years.
Strauss-Kahn, who has maintained his innocence, resigned last week and is currently out on $6 million bail after he was charged with sexually assaulting a chambermaid at the Sofitel hotel in Times Square.
He is now under ‘house arrest’ in a $4,400-a-month apartment after being let out of New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison.
Strauss-Kahn’s wife is understood to be paying the rent for his ‘golden cage’ on the fourth floor of an exclusive block of flats near the site of the former World Trade Center.
She is said to have put up her exclusive Washington D.C. town house as collateral to help raise $6million for his bail – $1million in cash and a $5million insurance bond.
If her husband absconds, she will forfeit the money and the house in the exclusive Georgetown district of Washington, which she bought in 2007 for $4 million.
Miss Sinclair is also paying $243,000 for armed guards, who have been posted outside the apartment’s gold-and-marble portico, to ensure the 62-year-old politician does not try to flee to France.
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