Vanessa Drucker: Equal before the law in New York

The recently released film “Welcome to New York,” which depicts a barely fictionalized account of the arrest and confinement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in May 2011, has one important reminder: the American judicial system worked, sort of, as authorities  acted conscientiously to uphold the law.

Justice is not always blind. This blog has previously noted that no high ranking financial executives have been prosecuted for behaviour that helped precipitate the 2008 credit crisis.  But on a different note, DSK could not exploit his status to avoid arrest in Manhattan – even though he was already widely expected to become the next French president.  (The main reason that prosecutors eventually dropped charges was that the hotel maid who had accused him of rape turned out not to be a credible witness, with a record of serious fabrications – and prosecutors must focus on cases they sincerely expect to be able to win.)

The film, dragged down by its excruciatingly dull orgy scenes, does have its moments. During the enactment of the initial bail hearing, the prosecution points out that everyone stands equal before the law. Judge Melissa Jackson rejected Strauss-Kahn’s$1 million bail application, on grounds that he posed a flight risk, and he was remanded in custody.

DSK has since faced further allegations of aggravated (regular) pimping in a Lille prostitution ring, and has been ordered to stand trial. His former wife Anne Sinclair divorced him in March 2013.  In November 2013, Strauss-Kahn joined the Luxembourg investment management firm, Anatevka, swiftly rebranded LSK & Partners, to incorporate its founder’s name with those of DSK. In March, the firm announced plans to raise $2 billion for a hedge fund, to be run by DSK and his economist daughter Vanessa. 

The former IMF chief brings a fancy rolodex, but no money management experience, after a career as an economics professor, a corporate lawyer and a government minister, who also happened to be overseeing the global economy during the disastrous years after 2008. Never mind. Hedge funds have exhibited such mediocre performance(LINK5) over the past few years, DSK and his daughter may not have a huge bar to beat.

Vanessa Drucker is the American editor of Fund Strategy magazine