IMF chief and possible French presidential contender
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken into police custody and is expected to be charged on Sunday with an alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York City, police said.
Strauss-Kahn, a key player in the world's response to the 2007-09 financial meltdown and in Europe's ongoing debt crisis, was removed from an Air France plane 10 minutes before it was to take off for Paris from John F Kennedy International Airport, New York police spokesman Paul Browne said.
Browne said police expected Strauss-Kahn would be formally arrested and charged: "He will be charged with a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment", Reuters reported
A lawyer representing Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told Reuters in an email that the IMF chief "will plead not guilty." Brafman made no further comment.
The IMF declined to comment and IMF board officials told Reuters they had not been informed officially of the incident.