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Strauss-Kahn says goodbye to IMF

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has returned to the IMF's headquarters to say goodbye to staff and meet his successor, five days after New York prosecutors dismissed sex attack charges against him.

In a statement, the Washington-based 187-nation lending agency said its current managing director, Christine Lagarde, met Mr Strauss-Kahn before he met IMF employees.

"These were private meetings, arranged at his request," the IMF said. "We have no further comment to offer."

Paulo Nogueira Batista, who represents Brazil on the IMF's 24-member executive board, described the meeting with staffers as warm. He said hundreds packed into an IMF auditorium to hear Mr Strauss-Kahn speak.

"It was a very emotional, warm farewell," Nogueira Batista said. He said that Mr Strauss-Kahn received lengthy applause when he entered the IMF auditorium and after he concluded his remarks. The session was closed to reporters.

The IMF emailed staff at the fund's headquarters early yesterday to announce Mr Strauss-Kahn's visit, saying he wanted to say goodbye.

Mr Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF in mid-May to fight charges of attempted rape and criminal sexual contact at a top hotel in New York. He had taken over as head of the agency in November 2007 and won praise for his leadership during the financial crisis of 2008 and the severe global recession that followed.

Mr Nogueira Batista said that when Mr Strauss-Kahn took over, the IMF was at a low point in terms of prestige and importance. He said Mr Strauss-Kahn was instrumental in reinvigorating the agency and making it a crucial player in dealing with the worst global downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

In his resignation latter in May, Mr Strauss-Kahn said he was leaving his IMF post with "infinite sadness" so that he could devote full time to proving his innocence.

After a state appeals court judge declined to appoint a special prosecutor, a lower court judge formally dismissed the charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn last Wednesday. An assistant district attorney for Manhattan said the prosecutor's office no longer found credible all the testimony from the hotel maid who had accused him.

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