New York: A New York City Judge on Monday denied IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn bail on charges of sexual assault.

Appearing in the court presided over by Judge Melissa Jackson for the first time after his arrest on Sunday, the 62-year-old IMF chief refuted the charges levelled by the 32-year-old chambermaid of New York Sofitel Hotel.

The IMF chief pleaded not guilty to the charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Strauss Kahn's lawyers sought his release on bail for USD 1 million and also offered to surrender all his travel documents, but the judge was not convinced.

The judge said Strauss-Kahn is a "flight risk" and remanded him in judicial custody till May 20 when the matter will come up for hearing.

If convicted, Strauss-Kahn, father of four children, could face a prison term of 15 to 20 years.

A grim-looking Strauss-Kahn appeared drained out during the court proceedings.

His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said the IMF chief would be exonerated as there was no wrong doing on his part.

Strauss-Kahn, a likely French presidential candidate for 2012, was picked up out of a police lineup last night by the chambermaid, who has accused him of molesting her.

The IMF chief, who was handcuffed and looked shaken, has agreed for a medical examination over charges of serious sexual assault.

Billed as the man who could hand out a poll defeat to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Strauss-Kahn was made to deboard a Paris-bound flight and arrested on Sunday by the New
York police which said he had no diplomatic immunity.

The French financial wizard's arraignment was put off for a day after he agreed to forensic test requested by the police as his attorney Brafman vowed that his client proposed to fight charges of sexual assault.

"Our client has willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination," his other lawyer William W Taylor III said.

Wearing a black overcoat over a blue shirt and black trousers, Strauss-Kahn avoided looking at the cameras as he walked to a police car.

The maid, who has not been named by the police, said she had entered the spacious Sofitel hotel suite thinking it was unoccupied when Strauss-Kahn sprang on her naked from the bathroom, ran after her and dragged her into his bedroom before assaulting her.

He then dragged her into the bathroom where he forced himself on her again before she broke free, the maid told the police.

New York Police alleged that following the assault in the Manhattan hotel, Strauss-Kahn quickly headed off to New York airport to board a Paris-bound flight but left his cellphone behind.

Not looking at IMF chief post: Montek

Amid speculation that he may be a contender for the top job at IMF, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday said he was not looking at any such posts at this point.

"No comments. I am not looking at any such posts as of now," Ahluwalia told reporters when asked whether he is in the race for the top post at the International Monetary Fund(IMF). He, however, added that "the events are unfortunate and we have to wait and see how the case evolves".

On the impact of the development at the IMF on the Eurozone crisis, he said, "We have to wait and see who becomes the  next head."

Ahluwalia was speaking after delivering the Second Foundation Day Lecture at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research here on Monday.

The 67-year-old Ahluwalia's name has been doing the rounds for the top post at the Washington-based multilateral lender.

Observers, however, say that his age may be a considered negative factor as there is said to be an age limit of 65 years for the top job.

Besides, there have never an instance of any person from India, or even from country like China, getting the coveted job at IMF.

 

(Agencies)