Strauss-Kahn swaps cell for Broadway flat

FORMER IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn traded in his private cell at Rikers Island for temporary housing in a building within the police department's "Ring of Steel" yesterday - a network of private and police cameras near where the World Trade Centre once stood.

During his time at the 21-storey Empire Building, at least one armed guard will be watching him at all times, and he will have to wear an ankle bracelet. His apartment's exterior doors will be outfitted with alarms and video cameras, on orders from the judge who granted bail on charges he tried to rape a hotel maid.

The 62-year-old former managing director of the powerful International Monetary Fund had been behind bars since last Saturday. He has denied the allegations.

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The original plan was for Strauss-Kahn to move into a luxury residential hotel under armed guard on Manhattan's well-to-do Upper East Side. Even though the address was never officially released, police and media converged on the building, the Bristol Plaza.

"Last night there was an effort by the media to invade the building," Strauss-Kahn's lawyer William Taylor said. "That is why the tenants in the building will not accept his living there."

While Strauss-Kahn's family had a lease and could have stayed, he decided to leave "out of respect for the residents".

Late on Friday, after the snag over where the banker would serve his house arrest had been resolved, Strauss-Kahn was released from the city's Rikers Island jail on $1 million cash bail and moved to the landmark apartment building in a granite skyscraper.

The apartment building on Broadway in Manhattan's Financial District, several blocks from ground zero, rents two-bedroom apartments starting at $4,250 a month, with 9ft ceilings and bay windows.

"This is intended to be temporary, meaning a few days, and, in the meantime, efforts would be made to arrange for another suitable residence," state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said.