By Murray Weiss and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — The head of the International Monetary Fund and a leading French presidential contender was yanked off a Paris-bound flight Saturday afternoon for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in a Midtown hotel, sources said.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, was picked up by Port Authority cops minutes before he was to leave for France from JFK airport, according to the sources.
The NYPD confirmed to DNAinfo that he was being questioned in connection with a sexual assault, but he had not been formally charged.
Plainclothes detectives grabbed the politician, who is expected to challenge French president Nicholas Sarkozy in 2012, as the plane sat at the gate, according to the sources.
Earlier in the day, Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a maid at a Midtown hotel, the Sofitel on W. 44th Street, near Fifth Avenue.
Sources said that Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked and pounced on the victim.
The maid was able to break free, but he allegedly sexually attacked her.
The victim was taken to Roosevelt Hospital at 2:50 p.m., sources said.
In the meantime Strauss-Kahn, who has headed up the IMF for more than three years, headed to Kennedy Airport.
Sources said he was in a rush and left his cell phone behind.
When cops approached him on the plane, he said "What is this about?" according to The Post.
Strauss-Kahn has agreement with Air France that he can board any one of their flights and sit in first class, the paper said.
This is not the first time that Strauss-Kahn has been touched by scandal.
In 2008, he got into hot water for having a fling with a blonde, Hungarian-born staffer, Piroska Nagy.
Her husband complained, sparking an investigation, but Strauss-Kahn was ultimately cleared of helping her get a good deal to leave the fund and another job at a London bank.
His wife, Anne Sinclair, a journalist, stood by him.
Before taking the helm at the IMF, Strauss-Kahn was a professor of economics at Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, according to his biography.
A member of the Socialist party, he was elected to France's assembly three times from 2001-2007.
And in 2006, he sought the Socialist Party's nomination for president, but lost.
In addition to being a visiting professor at Stanford, Strauss-Kahn, who was trained as a lawyer and holds a PhD in economics, also was the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry in France from 1997 to 1999.
During that time, he endured two corruption scandals, but was ultimately cleared.
The IMF did not immediately respond to an email for comment.
Sofitel did not immediately return a call for comment.