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No immunity to IMF chief, says US

May 18, 2011 10:12 IST

Dominique Strauss-KahnThe managing director of International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been arrested in New York on alleged rape charges, does not enjoy any diplomatic immunity, the US has said.

Simultaneously, the White House said it has full faith in the capabilities of IMF to continue with the important role it is playing, despite the setback of its head being behind bars in a New York prison.

"It's important to note that our understanding is that the IMF is not seeking to assert any immunities on behalf of Dominique Strauss-Kahn," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"Our understanding is that immunity in this particular case and with IMF officials is that it would only involve their official capacity and carrying out their duties in their official role. And that doesn't apply in this case," he said.

Meanwhile, the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "we retain full confidence in the IMF and its continued capacity to fulfill its obligations, to fulfil its role in the global economy during this difficult period."

"I am not going to talk about the process for selecting potentially a future head of the IMF from here.

"I don't really have any comment on it. I think the important point is that we believe that the IMF can and will continue to function and fulfill its role in the global economy," Carney told reporters in response to a question.

Earlier in the day, the IMF said that Strauss-Kahn doesn't have immunity in the alleged sexual assault case against him for which he has been arrested and currently in a New York jail.

"The MD's immunities are limited and are not applicable to this case," IMF spokesman William Murray said.

No contact with Kahn since his arrest, says IMF: The International Monetary Fund has not maintained any contact with its managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn since his arrest in New York over the weekend on alleged sexual assault charges, the IMF has said.

"We have not had contact with the managing director since his arrest in New York. Obviously, it will be important to be in contact with him in due course," William Murray, spokesperson of the Washington based IMF said, but noted that the agency was aware of the developments in New York.

"We are aware of widespread speculation about the managing director's status. We have no comment on this speculation, other than to note, as we did earlier this week, that the executive board was briefed informally on developments regarding his arrest in New York," Murray said.

"We continue to monitor developments. Meanwhile, John Lipsky remains acting managing director, and the Fund continues its normal work," the IMF spokesman said in a statement.

Image: Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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