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Strauss Kahn faces costly house arrest rent

NEW YORK, May 20 – Ousted IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn must pay $1 million to get out of jail on Friday and then spend more than $200,000 a month for armed guards to watch him "24/7" in a Manhattan apartment under a costly bail deal.

Strauss-Kahn, whose hopes of running for the French presidency have been blown by attempted rape charges, must deposit a $5-million insurance bond and wear an electronic bracelet while he awaits trial.

US prosecutors opposed bail. They said there was a strong risk Strauss-Kahn would try to flee the charges and his power and influence meant it would be nearly impossible to bring him back to the United States.

Judge Michael Obus also highlighted the risk and put tough financial and personal movement conditions on Strauss-Kahn, who will be formally arraigned on June 6 on charges of attempting to rape a New York hotel chambermaid last Saturday.

Strauss-Kahn was ordered to pay $1 million upfront to secure his release from Rikers island prison and deposit a $5 million dollar insurance bond. That will probably be in the form of property deeds belonging to his wealthy wife.

The conditions also include:

+ Being watched 24 hours a day by armed guards at a Manhattan apartment where he has been ordered to stay with his wife, French television journalist Anne Sinclair.

+ Installing video cameras at the apartment.

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+ Wearing an electronic transmitter ankle bracelet.

+ Surrendering all travel documents.

+ Restrictions on visitors to the apartment and only visits out for "religious" and other strictly defined reasons.

The judge ordered that the armed guards and video cameras and other equipment at the apartment must be "at the defendant\’s expense." Assistant District Attorney John McConnell estimated it would cost more than $200,000 a month.

Obus should formalize the bail agreement on Friday. Strauss-Kahn, who denies the charges against him, should then leave Rikers island prison once the bail and insurance bond are posted.

His attorney, William Taylor, said Sinclair has rented a New York apartment where her husband could be confined and watched by an armed guard.

Taylor said that Strauss-Kahn did not need bail conditions, insisting to the court that Strauss-Kahn "is an honorable man" who has "only one interest at this time, and that is to clear his name."

The lawyer said the prospect of his client "teleporting" himself to France was "ludicrous."

Prosecutors said the risk was real though and highlighted how Strauss-Kahn was detained on an Air France jet about to leave New York\’s John F Kennedy airport on Saturday hours after the alleged sexual assault.

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"He has the stature and the resources not to be a fugitive on the run," McConnell told the court. Strauss-Kahn could "live a life of ease and comfort in parts of the world that are beyond" US jurisdiction.

Judge Obus acknowledged the risk and warned Strauss-Kahn that if there was "the slightest problem with your compliance" he would be brought back to court and probably sent to jail.

Strauss-Kahn is accused of trying to rape a 32-year-old woman at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan last Saturday. The former French finance minister and Socialist power baron resigned on Thursday as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

"We want to express our pleasure that the judge has made this decision, it\’s great relief to the family to be able to have him with them," Taylor told journalists after the hearing.

"He is going back to Rikers tonight and we expect he will be released tomorrow," Taylor added.


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