When International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested after being accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York City, onlookers wondered whether the IMF would sanction him for abusing his position (Strauss-Kahn reportedly yelled “don’t you know who I am?” while attacking the maid).
The policing system for the IMF’s approximately 2,400 staffers includes a hotline to report misconduct, publication of all ethics complaints and a designated ethics investigator to follow up on the complaints. This system, however, does not apply to the IMF’s board members. The ethics investigator does not have the power to examine the activities of the board, which has its own five-person ethics team, whose work is confidential. The only way the board can discipline its members is by writing them, or their home countries, a warning letter.
Katrina Campbell, an ethics expert, told the Times that though the staff ethics code was written into Strauss-Kahn’s contract, he was ultimately only held accountable by the board.
“There are a lot of controls in place when it comes to the staff, but not for the leadership,” Campbell said.