Disgraced former IMF chief to become Serbian economic adviser

By bne IntelliNews September 16, 2013

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The scandal-tainted former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is to become an economic adviser to Serbia's top officials, the government has confirmed.

Powerful deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has indicated for some time that he was looking to bring in outside advisers on how to get the country's struggling economy moving. On September 12, he told Serbian television that Strauss-Kahn will help guide the government on the best way to restructure the country's large foreign debt.

"We have already spoken. He was not happy when he saw what awaited him, but he has already suggested a few solutions," Vucic said.

Austria's former chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer will also be an adviser in the reshuffled government.

Strauss-Kahn, a native of France who is being prosecuted at home on charges of pimping, resigned from the IMF in disgrace after being charged, but acquitted, in 2011 of a sexual assault in New York. Vucic argued that the charges do not tarnish Strauss-Kahn's professional reputation, adding that he expected the former IMF chief to travel to Belgrade "within a week".

Tim Ash of Standard Bank says that use of the phrase, "restructuring", is unfortunate. Although the public sector debt/GDP ratio is high, the government is not thinking about haircuts or similar action to resolve the issues, he points out. "Rather," he writes, "this is looking at cheaper ways of financing, which might mean doing more Eurobonds, and buying back some of the more expensive London Club debt."

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