|Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted a $1m bail deal by a New York court. [Reuters]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been granted bail by a New York court after being formally charged with attempting to sexually assault and rape a hotel maid.
Among the terms of the $1m bail deal, the judge requested that Strauss-Kahn, 62, remain under house arrest with an electronic monitor and be watched by an armed guard at all times at the residence where he will be living.
The former IMF chief will also have to take out a $5m insurance bond.
William Taylor, who represented Strauss-Kahn at the hearing, said the result was a "great relief for the family".
Earlier on Thursday, prosecutors put forth their case that Strauss-Kahn could easily return to France and had a substantial incentive, and the ability, to flee the country.
The prosecution also said that Strauss-Kahn's exit from the alleged crime scene was "unusually hasty", and any bail package would be insufficient.
The former IMF leader is expected to leave the notorious Rikers Island jail later on Friday.
Race to replace
Strauss-Kahn's resignation as IMF chief late on Wednesday has triggered a global race for the top job.
Strauss-Kahn's arrest has dashed his prospects to run for the French presidency in 2012 [Reuters]
European heavyweights are lining up for the role, with Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, seen as a major contender.
Angela Merkel reiterated her call for a European candidate to take the role on Friday, and spoke of her high regard for Lagarde.
"Among the names mentioned for the IMF succession is the French finance minister Christine Lagarde, whom I rate highly," she said.
However emerging markets including China, Brazil and India have called for a transparent selection process to represent their concerns.
Abdel Shakour Shaalan, an Egyptian representing Arab states on the 24-member governing board said he was contacting colleagues about the selection process.
"The era is over in which it may have been even remotely appropriate to reserve that important post for a European national," Guido Mantega, the Brazilian finance minister, said.
Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, said the next candidate must be considered for their "morality, ability and diligence".
The prime ministers of 12 former Soviet republics have also backed the candidacy of the Kazakhstan central bank chief.
The IMF's executive board released Strauss-Kahn's resignation letter on Wednesday in which he denied the allegations, but said he felt compelled to resign from his position as IMF chief "with sadness''.
"It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the executive board my resignation from my post of managing director of the IMF," Strauss-Kahn said in the letter.
"To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," the statement added.
"I think at this time first of my wife - whom I love more than anything - of my children, of my family, of my friends.
"I think also of my colleagues at the fund; together we have accomplished such great things over the last three years and more.
"I want to protect this institution which I have served with honour and devotion, and especially - especially - I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence."
The IMF's previous second-in-command John Lipsky will remain as acting managing director.