16 MAY 2011
By Jennifer Ryan | Bloomberg
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest is an embarrassment that won’t derail attempts to bolster aid for Greece as officials head to Brussels for crisis talks, economists said.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, had been scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel today and then attend discussions with euro-area finance ministers in Brussels tomorrow as officials consider further support to stave off a Greek default. He has been charged with attempted rape and a criminal sex act on a woman in a New York hotel. Strauss-Kahn denies the charges.
“Its incredibly embarrassing, and not the IMF’s or Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s finest hour, but I don’t think this ought to undermine what’s going on,” Peter Westaway, chief European economist at Nomura International Plc in London, said in an interview. “I don’t think it will affect negotiations on Greece. In the end, issues for Greece and policy making are more important than that and they’ll carry on.”
European officials are working to prevent the region’s first default as Greek ministers plead for terms to be relaxed on 110 billion-euros ($155 billion) of aid from the IMF and European Union in a debt crisis that has also engulfed Ireland and Portugal. Economists said that talks to reconsider Greece’s aid terms are taking place between institutions rather than individuals and so can endure such turmoil.
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