Serbia says to hire ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn as advisor

Serbia says to hire ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn as advisor

BELGRADE - Agence France-Presse
Serbia says to hire ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn as advisor

A picture taken on May 14, 2013 in Juba, South Sudan, shows former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn listening during a visit to open a new bank named National Credit Bank (NCB). AFP photo

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has agreed to advise the Serbian government and is expected in Belgrade next week, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Friday.

“We have agreed in principle, there are only technical details to be settled,” Vucic told AFP.

“It is expected that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will come to Belgrade within a week,” he added.

Earlier, Vucic said in an interview to state TV that Strauss-Kahn “will be a government advisor, he will advise the finance minister, me and the prime minister”, Ivica Dacic.

The length of Strauss-Kahn’s appointment and his remuneration were not disclosed.

The 64-year-old economist “will help Serbia to program its debts,” Vucic said, adding that Strauss-Kahn “was not in particular satisfied and happy when he saw our balances but already offered several solutions.” Strauss-Kahn resigned from his IMF job following his 2011 arrest over an alleged sexual assault on a New York hotel maid, but eventually reached an undisclosed financial settlement with his accuser.

French prosecutors have said he will face trial on pimping charges along with 12 others over an alleged prostitution ring.

However, Vucic said he would not judge Strauss-Kahn by his private life.

“I am interested in him as an expert and a man who could help Serbia,” Vucic said.

Strauss-Kahn, who was once considered a serious candidate for the French presidency, has recently sought to return to public life, appearing at economic conferences in France and abroad and setting up an office in Paris.

But he said in July that his political career was over and he was instead working as an economic advisor.

According to Vucic, former Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer will also become an adviser to the government.

Earlier this month Socialist Prime Minister Dacic reshuffled his cabinet in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy and lead it closer to EU membership.

International Monetary Fund experts believe the government needs to introduce severe budget cuts, including public administration costs and pensions.

Serbia’s economy shrank 1.7 percent in 2012 while unemployment rose to 24 percent. Its growing public debt has already exceeded 60 percent of gross domestic product.