Shamed IMF boss Strauss-Kahn may return as Serbia’s financial guru

Balkan state keen to recruit French  politician to aid its ailing economy

Defence Correspondent

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose job as the head of the International Monetary Fund and hopes of the French presidency disappeared in a spectacular storm of sex scandals, is being lined up to return to public life as an economic adviser to Serbia.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was indicted last Friday in France on alleged pimping charges. However, that has not stopped the administration in Belgrade from viewing him as the man with the ideal expertise to help rescue the country’s ailing finances.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, who heads the largest party in parliament and is seen as the most influential figure in the Serbian government,  held talks with Mr Strauss-Kahn on the phone today to decide whether the appointment would go ahead, The Independent has learnt.

However, Mr Strauss-Kahn’s fees are said to be extremely high and if he does not get the post, Mr Vucic may turn to a British financial adviser; initial approaches have been made, it is believed, to several figures in London.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, however, remains the first choice. A senior political source in Belgrade said “There is no point in pretending that the economy is not in a mess and we need someone with the economic authority and knowledge who can be of assistance and Strauss-Khan fulfils those conditions. We are, of course, aware that there will be some controversy over this because of what has happened in his private life, but we believe that does not have any bearing on the professional role we are seeking from him. Let’s not forget the man used to be the director of IMF.”

The source acknowledged that Mr Strauss-Kahn suffers from having “baggage” from his private life, but added: “This is Serbia, there are a lot of people here with all kinds of ‘baggage’ as we know.”

On Tuesday evening, the Finance Minister, Mladjan Dinkic, was dismissed leading to talk of the government collapsing. His party, United Regions of Serbia, is a junior partner in the ruling coalition. However, Mr Vucic announced that his Serbian Progressive Party  will continue to support the Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, providing the government with a slim majority.

Mr Vucic has been pressing for fundamental reforms of the economy which is beset by high unemployment and trade deficit and low rate of growth. International investment has grown in recent years because of relatively low salaries, a large pool of skilled labour and the countries’ strategic position, but multinationals complain about being hindered by bureaucracy, remnants of a socialist command economy and lack of infrastructure.

Serbia has seen other former Yugoslav states, Slovenia and recently, Croatia, join the European Union, and is currently in process of negotiations with projected entry in 2020.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, a professor of economics, was minister of finance and industry in France and later served as the director of the IMF from 2007 until 2011 when he resigned after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.

Criminal charges against him over the matter were dropped by US authorities, but other allegations of sexual improprieties followed, the latest chapter being the announcement of his prosecution last week.

Mr Strauss-Kahn has recently attended economic conferences in a number of counties. Unconfirmed reports claim that he may join the board of supervisors of a bank that is a subsidiary of Rosneft, the oil corporation owned by the Russian government.

NO STRANGER TO CONTROVERSY

Dominic Strauss-Kahn, the former French finance minister, is no stranger to controversy.  An internal inquiry in 2008 cleared the then head of the IMF after he was accused by a colleague of harassment and abuse of power.

In May 2011 Mr Strauss-Kahn’s career was derailed when he was arrested in New York after being accused of rape by a hotel maid. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence, but he was forced to pay damages.

Two other cases against him have also been dismissed - one involving female French writer Tristane Banon who claimed Strauss-Kahn raped her in 2003, the other an inquiry into allegations of gang rape at a hotel in Washington.

Although prosecutors in France want to abandon final outstanding legal action against Mr Strauss-Kahn, magistrates last week decided to charge him for pimping in relation to an alleged prostitution ring in Lille.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Care Support Workers

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this care company base...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - South East & East Anglia

£60500 - £65500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Technician

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want the opportunity to ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent