Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn moved from a temporary space in a high-rise to a plush, four-bedroom brick townhouse in New York today, where he will remain under house arrest as he awaits trial for attempted rape.
The one-time French presidential contender was seen smiling as he got into a sport utility vehicle under tight security. He was moved about a mile away to the stately red brick town home in Tribeca, according a person familiar with the arrangements.
The building is on a cobblestone street in one of Manhattan’s most upmarket neighbourhoods. It is also close to the court where he will attend hearings.
Lawyer William Taylor said his client was “doing fine” under house arrest.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, is free on $1m (€705,000) bail after prosecutors feared him a flight risk given his international status and wealth.
He spent about a week in jail on Rikers Island after he was arrested on May 14 following accusations that he sexually assaulted a maid in his room at the Sofitel hotel near Manhattan’s Times Square. His lawyers maintain Strauss-Kahn is not guilty.
Bail plans hit a snag late last week when tenants at the Upper East Side apartment building initially secured for his house arrest refused to accept him because of unwanted media attention.
He was briefly housed at a high-rise near Wall Street, where a throng of media has been camped out at the building, broadcasting as his wife, former journalist Anne Sinclair, entered and left the building.
Strauss-Kahn, who has no prior criminal record, is monitored by armed guards and wears an electronic bracelet, and his movements are recorded on camera. He will be allowed out for court, doctor’s visits and religious services. Prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere, and he cannot be out between 10pm and 6am. Under his terms of house arrest, he can receive up to four visitors at a time besides family.
Security is being managed by Stroz Friedberg, the same company that handled house arrest for disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. Strauss-Kahn’s agreement is expected to cost him about $200,000 (€141,000) a month.
But that does not include rent on his new digs, which were advertised for €35,200 a month in an online listing from Town Residential. Broker Robert Dvorin confirmed the home had recently been rented but declined to comment on the identity of the tenant. It was listed elsewhere for sale at $13,995,000 (€9.8m).
The townhouse includes a theatre, gym, spa and four bathrooms with jetted tubs and steam showers. It was recently renovated “with only the finest materials and craftsmanship”, according to the listing.
The living room has an oversized skylight and fireplace. A large terrace includes potted plants, a gas grill and Japanese paper walls for privacy.
Strauss-Kahn was pulled from a jetliner bound for Paris after the 32-year-old West African immigrant reported the alleged sex attack to hotel staff.
She told police she entered his room around noon and he emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her around his luxury suite before grabbing and attacking her.
Earlier this week, people familiar with the investigation said that evidence found on the woman’s work clothing matched Strauss-Kahn’s DNA.
Strauss-Kahn resigned nearly a week ago from the IMF, saying he wanted to protect the institution.