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Strauss-Kahn heads firm with Swiss offices

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Strauss-Kahn heads firm with Swiss offices
Photo: Guillaume Paumier
09:46 CEST+02:00
Former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn is refashioning his career as a financial guru, heading an investment company that is based in Luxembourg but also active in Geneva.

Just as Welcome to New York, a thinly disguised movie about DSK, starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset, is making headlines in Cannes — where it's about to be screened unofficially — his new financial venture is causing a splash in Switzerland.

Once seen as a French presidential contender, Strauss-Kahn, 65, was accused of raping a chamber maid in New York City in 2011, although the criminal charge was dropped and he paid an undisclosed sum to settle a civil suit.

That affair, which inspired the movie, and his alleged involvement in a prostitution ring and international sex parties, killed the socialist politician’s political career.

But the former French economy minister and university professor is now carving out a new future as chairman of Leyne Strauss-Kahn & Partners.

"In one’s professional life, having the chance to build a new entrepreneurial project, radically different from my past public life, is a great luxury that I live with much enthusiasm and commitment," Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

"It is a unique opportunity, and I hope my experience will serve our clients in the most efficient way."

The firm, according to its website, was founded by Frenchman Thierry Leyne, who earlier established a holding company that dabbled in asset management, venture capital and consulting, among other areas.

Several years ago, Leyne launched FirstCaution SA, a company based in Nyon, in the canton of Vaud, that provides rental deposit guarantees.

Le Temps newspaper said Strauss-Kahn last year acquired 18 percent of Leyne’s company to become chairman.

His role touches all aspects of the company’s operations, Leyne told the newspaper in a telephone interview from Shanghai.

He is “responsible for the strategy of the group, he is, at the operational level, the expert who directs the management of the investment funds”.

Leyne said DSK’s primary role will be to provide “macroeconomic advice” for a hedge fund called DSK Global Investment.

He told Le Temps the company hopes to initially attract hundreds of millions of euros to the fund, growing to two billion euros after a year.

Without a lot of fanfare, Strauss-Kahn travelled to Shanghai in March to launch the "long-term global-macro fund".

At the time, Leyne issued a statement saying,"The assets that will be allocated in the fund will be based on the expression of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s comprehensive economic predictions of global trends in bond markets, equity markets, commodity markets, Forex, alternative, cash, and other exchanges".

The company advertises offices in Monaco, Tel Aviv, Bucharest, Casablanca and Brussels, in addition to Luxembourg and Geneva.

The Geneva office is located on the city’s priciest street, Rue du Rhône, known for its luxury boutiques and watch shops.

According to 20 Minutes, citing an unidentified lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, the office houses an economic research unit headed by his daughter, Vanessa Strauss-Kahn.

An economics professor who received a PhD in economics from New York University, she is identified on LSK’s website as the company’s head of research.

According to the company’s advertised organizational structure, LSK & Partners is set up as a holding company that owns, controls or has shares in more than a dozen firms, including FirstCaution and Assya Asset Management Switzerland.

Its shares are listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris exchange.

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