WASHINGTON – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, returned to the IMF's Washington headquarters Monday to say goodbye to staffers and meet briefly with his successor. The visit came five days after New York prosecutors formally dismissed all criminal charges against him.
In a statement, the 187-nation lending agency said its current managing director, Christine Lagarde, met with Strauss-Kahn before he met with IMF staffers.
"These were private meetings, arranged at his request," the IMF said in a statement. "We have no further comment to offer."
Paulo Nogueira Batista, who represents Brazil on the IMF's 24-member executive board, described the meeting with staffers as warm. He said hundreds packed into an IMF auditorium to hear Strauss-Kahn speak.
"It was a very emotional, warm farewell," Nogueira Batista said. He said that Strauss-Kahn received lengthy applause when he entered the IMF auditorium and after he concluded his remarks. The session was closed to reporters.
The global lending institution emailed staff at the fund's Washington headquarters earlier Monday to announce Strauss-Kahn's visit. The email said Strauss-Kahn wanted to say goodbye.
Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF in mid-May to fight charges of attempted rape and criminal sexual contact in New York. He had taken over as head of the IMF in November 2007 and won praise for his leadership during the financial crisis of 2008 and the severe global recession that followed.
Nogueira Batista said that when Strauss-Kahn took over, the IMF was at a low point in terms of prestige and importance. He said Strauss-Kahn was instrumental in reinvigorating the agency and making it a key player in dealing with the worst global downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In his resignation latter in May, Strauss-Kahn said he was leaving his IMF post with "infinite sadness" so that he could devote full time to proving his innocence.
After a state appeals court judge declined to appoint a special prosecutor, a lower court judge formally dismissed the charges against Strauss-Kahn last Wednesday. An assistant district attorney for Manhattan said the prosecutor's office no longer found credible all the testimony from the hotel maid who accused him.
Strauss-Kahn, who at one time had been considered a top contender to become president of France, has said he wants to return to France, where he will face an uncertain future that includes another investigation into an alleged sexual assault.
In the United States, Strauss-Kahn still faces a civil lawsuit that hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo has filed against him. Her attorneys have said they will aggressively litigate the civil case. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have called her account "imaginary."
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