No Rules

IMF Has Culture of Harassment

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, soon to be under house arrest while he awaits trial on charges of sexual assault, may have led by example: A bubble inside Washington where U.S. laws don't apply, the IMF has a reputation for sexual scandal. According to a 2008 internal review, the fact that more scandals haven't become public “seems to be more a consequence of luck than good planning and action.” The New York Times quoted an IMF internal document that was in effect until earlier this month as saying: "Intimate personal relationships between supervisors and subordinates do not, in themselves, constitute harassment.” In the words of a former IMF deputy director, “It’s sort of like Pirates of the Caribbean; the rules are more like guidelines.” In 2007, fund officials declined to investigate charges that a supervisor had pressured an administrative assistant into sleeping with him because the supervisor planned to retire soon, and in 2009, according to another woman, officials took no action after she complained about being pestered with sexually aggressive emails.