Original post: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF, was arrested in New York on allegations that he forced or attempted to force a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan to perform oral sex on him.

The New York Post was first to break the news that the IMF chief was hauled off an Air France flight two minutes before it was due to take off, and taken into custody by the NYPD.

Here’s its description of the events that transpired in the hotel:

The trouble began around noon today, when a housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel on West 44th Street.

Strauss-Kahn was in his bathroom, said sources. He emerged from the bathroom naked, said the sources, and grabbed her.

Then, Strauss-Kahn allegedly threw the housekeeper on the room’s bed and forced her to perform oral sex on him, said the sources

The New York Daily news puts it a different way, saying that the maid escaped:

Strauss-Kahn, 62, allegedly crept up behind a maid after she entered his room and forced her to perform oral sex on him, sources said.

The woman broke free and ran out of the room. Strauss-Khan quickly headed for the airport, sources said.

He has been seen as a potential future candidate for Prime Minister of France.

This is not the first time he’s been involved in a sex scandal. Back in 2008 there was a story of the IMF investigating an improper sexual relationship with a subordinate.

And approximately a year ago, a book described his string of extra-marital affairs.

The Telegraph wrote this almost exactly one year ago:

The leader French Socialist and former finance minister is considered perhaps the only politician in a position to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy should he run against him in elections in 2012. But according to the book – said to be written by a close female aide – his penchant for the opposite sex could knock him out of the race even before it starts.

Meanwhile, The Guardian has a story — actually dated tomorrow — about how Strauss-Kahn is suing a French newspaper that made claims about his super-rich lifestyle, such as buying expensive, tailored suits.

He was due to meet with Angela Merkel this weekend on Euro-crisis matters.

Click here for the details of the allegations →

Update: With the news about 12 hours old, here’s a bit more of what we’ve learned.

Already many in France are raising questions about whether there is some kind of plot by the far-right. He had been riding high in the polls, and it seems his people were expecting more and more smears.

The IMF now faces a leadership vacuum. It’s not clear what his future is at the organisation — regardless of the outcome in this particular case. Per this WSJ article, his #2 John Lipsky had planned to leave this August. Strauss-Kahn has been a forceful defender of the current bailout approach in Europe, for better or worse.

Meanwhile, the New York tabloids both him him on the cover.

And the IMF has put out this brief statement:

“IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York City. Mr. Strauss-Kahn has retained legal counsel, and the IMF has no comment on the case; all inquiries will be referred to his personal lawyer and to the local authorities.

“The IMF remains fully functioning and operational.”