Opening Bell: 05.16.11

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Strauss-Kahn Awaits Arraignment in Sex Assault Case (Bloomberg)
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn awaits his first court appearance on attempted rape charges after giving police permission to examine him for physical evidence of scratches and DNA from his accuser. The alleged attack on a 32-year-old female maid at a Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan occurred May 14, according to the New York Police Department. Strauss-Kahn, who was taken into custody aboard an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport as it prepared to depart, also was charged with unlawful imprisonment and a criminal sex act. He remains in custody until an 11 a.m. hearing in Manhattan criminal court. Strauss- Kahn, 62, has denied the charges and will plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said. The IMF chief was picked out of a lineup yesterday by the maid, police said. His arraignment, during which bail terms may be set, had been scheduled for yesterday and was delayed after investigators sought a warrant a physical examination of Strauss-Kahn.

I.M.F. Names New Leader (NYT)
Hours after its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the International Monetary Fund on Sunday named John Lipsky as acting managing director. Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan.

Why Lagarde Will Be The Next IMF Managing Director
Felix Salmon: "Christine Lagarde will become the first female managing director of the IMF. She has the political skills and the economic credentials to get the job, and Europe will feel much more comfortable with a European in the role over the next few turbulent years. The US won’t object, and the Asians will go along with the choice since they don’t really have a candidate of their own."

New Details in IMF Sex Case (WSJ)
According to the narrative [the accuser] gave investigators, Mr. Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom nude and approached her from behind and touched her breast, then threw her on to the bed, the official said. She told police she broke free but was then pushed into a rear hallway of the suite near the bathroom. Mr. Strauss-Kahn allegedly caught up with her and sexually assaulted her, the official said, before allowing her to leave.

IMF head finally agrees to medical exam; set for arraignment today (NYP)
In an ironic twist, Strauss-Kahn may have inadvertently helped cops capture him before he fled the country. After the alleged assault Saturday, Strauss-Kahn was so desperate to flee that he left his cellphone in the hotel room, officials said. He also gave away his location, calling the hotel to tell management that he had left behind his phone and that he was at JFK Airport. So when the incident was reported and cops went looking for Strauss-Kahn, the hotel was able to direct authorities to the airport, where he was pulled off a plane just before it departed for Paris at 4:40 p.m.

Police Seek Evidence From I.M.F. Chief on Sex Attack (NYT)
The authorities said they had moved to obtain a court order granting them a search warrant to examine Mr. Strauss-Kahn for signs of injury that he might have suffered during a struggle or for traces of his accuser’s DNA. “Things like getting things from under the fingernails,” a law enforcement official explained, “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”

Strauss-Kahn Arrest Bolsters Push for IMF Changes (Bloomberg)
“This event is likely to put into play the leadership and governance structure of the IMF in a dramatic and unanticipated manner,” said Prasad, a former IMF official.

Soul-Searching in France After Official’s Arrest Jolts Nation (NYT)
Some, including Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wife, the American-born French television journalist Anne Sinclair, expressed disbelief in the charges and faith in her husband’s innocence. His lawyer has said he would plead not guilty. Others talked darkly of a possible “setup” of Mr. Sarkozy’s most prominent rival.

How's Strauss-Kahn Doing? (Telegraph)
"He's tired but he's fine," DSK's lawyer said.

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults? (WSJ)
"I think technical default would be horrible," [Stanley Druckenmiller] says from the 24th floor of his midtown Manhattan office, "but I don't think it's going to be the end of the world. It's not going to be catastrophic. What's going to be catastrophic is if we don't solve the real problem," meaning Washington's spending addiction.

Nasdaq, ICE Pull NYSE Bid, Cite Regulators (Reuters)
"We took the decision to withdraw our offer when it became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval for our proposal despite offering a variety of substantial remedies, including the sale of the NYSE SRO and related businesses," Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement.

Former S.E.C. Official Said to Be Subject of Criminal Inquiry (NYT)
A former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement official who has been accused of repeatedly blocking efforts to investigate R. Allen Stanford, the Houston financier charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, is the subject of a federal criminal inquiry for having done legal work for Mr. Stanford after leaving the S.E.C., government officials said Friday.

Banks Woo Funds With Private Peeks (WSJ)
Investment banks vie for business from elite hedge funds by offering traders at those funds special access to senior deal makers and corporate executives at dinners and other gatherings. The traders sometimes pick up valuable nuggets of information that aren't available to other investors, according to people who have attended such gatherings…The funds are prized clients because they collectively pay billions of dollars in fees each year for buying and selling stocks.

US dollar under more pressure as Zimbabwe speaks on its end as global currency (Examiner)
Just two years ago, the nation of Zimbabwe created a hyperinflationary economy that led to the creation of a $100 Trillion note for its citizens to be able to purchase food. On May 15th however, this African nation is now speaking out on the US dollar, and advocating that its days are numbered as the global reserve currency.

Investors Show Interest in AIG Stock Sale (WSJ)
Underwriters for the $9 billion stock sale by American International Group Inc. and the U.S. Treasury have indications of interest from investors for about half the offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angry Birds CEO Plots Media Empire (CNBC)
“When we realized we had a big hit on our hands with Angry Birds, we looked at companies that had gone before us, especially in the mobile gaming sector where we were at that time very firmly,” Hed told CNBC.com. “We saw that most gaming companies had then immediately tried to make another hit game and we realized that had very rarely worked. Rather, we started to look at what we could do around Angry Birds and if there was a way that we could build this into an entertainment franchise,” he added.

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