Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn moved on Wednesday from a temporary space in a high-rise to a plush, four-bedroom brick town house in Manhattan where he will remain under house arrest as he awaits trial on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid, officials said.
The one-time French presidential contender was seen smiling as he got into a gray sport utility vehicle under tight security. He was moved about a mile (2 kilometres) away to the stately red brick town home in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood, according a person familiar with his housing arrangements. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The building, which has five bathrooms, is located on a cobblestone street in one of the city’s most posh neighbourhoods. It also is close to the courthouse where he will attend hearings.
Attorney William Taylor told reporters Wednesday that his client was “doing fine” under house arrest.
“Not much he can do,” Taylor said.
Strauss-Kahn is free on $1 million bail under strict house arrest, after prosecutors feared he might flee given his international status and wealth. He spent about a week in jail on Rikers Island after he was arrested May 14 following accusations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in his room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square. His lawyers maintain Strauss-Kahn is not guilty.
Bail plans hit a snag late last week when tenants at the Upper East Side apartment building initially secured for his house arrest refused to accept him because of unwanted media attention. He was briefly housed at a high-rise near Wall Street, where a throng of media has been camped out at the building, broadcasting as his wife, former journalist Anne Sinclair, entered and left the building.
Strauss-Kahn, who has no prior criminal record, is monitored by armed guards and wears an electronic bracelet, and his movements are recorded on camera. He will be allowed out for court, doctor’s visits and religious services. Prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere, and he can’t be out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Under his terms of house arrest, he can receive up to four visitors at a time besides family.
Security is being managed by Stroz Friedberg, the same company that handled house arrest for the disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. Strauss-Kahn’s agreement is expected to cost him about $200,000 a month.
That doesn’t include rent on his new digs, which were advertised for $50,000 a month in an online listing from Town Residential. Broker Robert Dvorin confirmed the home had recently been rented but declined to comment on the identity of the tenant. It was elsewhere listed for sale at $13,995,000.
The town house includes a state-of-the-art theatre, gym, spa and four bathrooms with jetted tubs and steam showers. It was recently renovated “with only the finest materials and craftsmanship,” according to the listing. The living room has an oversized skylight and fireplace. A large terrace includes potted plants, a gas grill and Japanese paper walls for privacy.
Court officials confirmed that a new location had been agreed upon Wednesday for the economist, but did not specify any details. Spokesman David Bookstaver said only that the judge had approved the plan. The attorneys in the case filed court papers late in the day, but the judge did not immediately release them.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office did not comment.
Earlier this week, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that evidence found on the woman’s work clothing matched Strauss-Kahn’s DNA.
It was the first forensic evidence to link Strauss-Kahn to the woman -- and it’s also on track with what his lawyers have suggested would be his defence.
Meanwhile, the district attorney’s office has beefed up its team by adding two senior prosecutors to the case against Strauss-Kahn, according to The New York Times. The report, which appeared on the Times website late Wednesday, cited several people briefed on the matter.
Strauss-Kahn resigned nearly a week ago from the IMF, a powerful international institution that lends billions of dollars to troubled countries.
In his resignation he said he wanted to protect the institution.
“To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me,” he said.