IMF Head Held in Alleged Sexual Assault Attempt

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and a man considered a likely French presidential candidate, was taken into custody today at a New York airport after a hotel maid said he tried to sexually assault her.

Authorities said a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel told police that Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the bathroom naked as she was cleaning the room and assaulted her.

Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody aboard an Air France jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as the doors were closing to take off on a flight to Paris.

Detectives from the New York Police Department picked up the IMF president from Port Authority police and took him to midtown for questioning.

NYPD officials notified Port Authority police of the allegations against Strauss-Kahn and asked that they "take him off the plane, " Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

Port Authority detectives did so moments before the flight's departure, Browne said.

Browne said the maid notified hotel managers of the alleged assault and the hotel contacted police, who arrived at about 1:30 pm.

"She reported the attack to hotel officials who called police," Browne said.

When police arrived they found Strauss-Kahn's cell phone, Browne said.

"It appeared he left in a hurry," he said.

The IMF head has "not said a word" to police since he was taken into custody, Browne said.

He had not been charged and was being held for questioning at the Special Victims Unit on 126th Street in Manhattan late this evening, but Browne said that was expected to change soon.

"He is expected to be formally arrested in about an hour on charges anticipated to include criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment," Browne said.

Authorities said the hotel maid's account "is credible."

According to senior police officials Strauss-Kahn has no diplomatic immunity, despite his position with the IMF, which makes him technically an administrative official with the United Nations.