Ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn takes on Serbia advisory role

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn speaks during a news conference in the Serbian government building in Belgrade on Tuesday, Sept 17, 2013. Mr Strauss-Kahn began work on Tuesday as economic adviser to the Serb
Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn speaks during a news conference in the Serbian government building in Belgrade on Tuesday, Sept 17, 2013. Mr Strauss-Kahn began work on Tuesday as economic adviser to the Serbian government, his latest incarnation since a sex scandal cost him his job and ruined his French presidential ambitions. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BELGRADE (REUTERS) - Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn began work on Tuesday as economic adviser to the Serbian government, his latest incarnation since a sex scandal cost him his job and ruined his French presidential ambitions.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who has been initially engaged for three months and will take no salary, told a news conference that he and his team had "no magic wand or silver bullet" for the shaky economy of the European Union candidate.

The 64-year-old economist, who quit the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after being accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid in 2011, has been working for the French boutique investment bank Arjil and says he has been advising companies around the world.

The Serbian government, which has suggested it plans to seek a loan deal with the IMF but is struggling to rein in its public debt and budget deficit, has shrugged off concerns about Mr Strauss-Kahn's private life.

Though the New York charges were later dropped, Mr Strauss-Kahn is due to go on trial in France on charges of pimping that stem from sex parties he attended in the northern city of Lille.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Serbs were less interested in the Frenchman's private affairs than in what he could do to address the fundamentals of the Serbian economy - an average net wage of 380 euros (S$640) per month, unemployment of 24 per cent, public debt projected at 65 per cent of annual output and a budget deficit on course to breach 5 per cent of GDP.

"The great Picasso treated women and children badly, and some other people, including Hitler, loved women," Mr Vucic told state television last week. "If you want to judge by that, then you can judge Strauss-Kahn negatively."