The French political bigshot who heads the International Monetary Fund was arrested for allegedly sodomizing a Manhattan hotel maid today — getting hauled off an Air France flight just moments before takeoff from Kennedy Airport, police sources told The Post.
Three Port Authority detectives pulled Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the plane’s first-class cabin just two minutes before it was due to depart for Paris, the sources said.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, was turned over to NYPD officers from the Midtown South precinct, and the case is being investigated by the Special Victims Unit.
The trouble began around noon today, when a housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel on West 44th Street.
Strauss-Kahn was in his bathroom, said sources. He emerged from the bathroom naked, said the sources, and grabbed her.
Then, Strauss-Kahn allegedly threw the housekeeper on the room’s bed and forced her to perform oral sex on him, said the sources.
Strauss-Kahn let the maid leave — and soon afterward, headed off to Kennedy Airport for his flight to Paris.
The NYPD’s special victims unit is investigating the case, the sources said.
His arrest tonight could force him to postpone a planned meeting in Berlin on Sunday with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Strauss-Kahn, a leader of France’s Socialist Party, is the leading rival to President Nicholas Sarkozy in the 2012 election.
Sarkozy was said in a news report yesterday to have begun a smear campaign against his rival that focused on his lavish lifestyle — including Strauss-Kahn’s purchase of suits from the same tailor who clothes President Obama.
But Strauss-Kahn seems able to find trouble on his own. In 2008, he publicly admitted to "an error of judgment" for having an affair with an IMF subordinate.
In France’s 2007 vote, Strauss-Kahn lost the Socialist Party nomination to Segolene Royal, who in turn fell to defeat against Sarkozy, leader of the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement.
But Sarkozy, who still sees Strauss-Kahn as his likeliest electoral rival, is believed in France to have maneuvered him out of France by backing him to head the Washington-based International Monetary Fund.
Strauss-Kahn is married to New York-born Anne Sinclair, a leading French TV journalist.
He was France’s Minister of Economy and Finance from 1997 to 1999, when he resigned to battle charges he was paid for consulting work he never did. But judges decided he really did the work, and prosecutors were forced to admit they had no evidence of fraudulent motive.