Woman who had affair with IMF chief felt 'coerced'

Woman who had affair with IMF chief felt 'coerced'

One briefing was on the fund’s activities in Ghana. Strauss-Kahn took a keen interest in the woman making the presentation — Piroska M Nagy, a blond Hungarian-born economist who was 50 at the time.

Strauss-Kahn’s subsequent brief affair with Nagy, who is married, soon became public — spurring an internal investigation at the fund that would ultimately clear him of having abused the power of his office.

Now, in the aftermath of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, his past conduct is undergoing fresh scrutiny. A person with direct knowledge of Nagy’s version of what happened said that the affair was consensual, but that she had felt coerced because Strauss-Kahn was so forceful and so senior to her, making it difficult for her to say no.

Strauss-Kahn’s interest in Nagy materialised soon after her presentation. It soon became clear to Nagy that Strauss-Kahn’s interest was more than professional, and he began asking her out and even using increasingly sexual language in his communications.

Nagy found herself in an awkward relationship with her ultimate boss, but for a while she put off his advances. In January 2008, however, she met up with Strauss-Kahn in Davos and had a very brief affair with him.

Nagy put an end to the affair after her husband became aware of it. In 2008, she left the fund, taking advantage of an attractive severance package when the organisation cut staff. After the IMF board heard of the affair, it hired a law firm to investigate, focusing on whether Nagy had received any advantages in promotion or pay as a result of her relationship.

The board concluded that Nagy had received no undue benefit and that Strauss-Kahn had not abused his power.