Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the 25th of April 1949 he spent part of his childhood in Agadir, Morocco. He was raised by socialist parents and accumulated diplomas from France's most prestigious schools including from Paris' top business and political schools, HEC and Sciences-Po but failed the entrance exam to l'ENA, which grooms France's future presidents. He went on to get a degree in public law and a PHD in economics.
His PHD, which focused on how to stop the "capitalist machine from making people poor", reflected his then Marxist views. He however soon turned to socialism as he realised the need for the state to play a more interventionist role, and became an official member of the French Socialist party (PS) in 1976 where he quickly gained the attention of Francois Mitterrand.
In 1995 he was elected Mayor of Sarcelles, a poor suburb of Paris. His big break came in 1991, with his first ministerial experience within the ministry for industry and commerce. It is however not until 1997 that his dream position was finally awarded to him as he became the Minister of economy and finance under the Lionel Jospin government.
The first of many controversial affairs to affect the man who is now widely known in France as DSK put an abrupt end to his office as the economy and finance minister. He was accused of corruption in two financial scandals related to Elf Aquitain and the MNEF, a student mutual health insurance, and decided to resign from his ministerial office to fight these charges. He was acquitted in November 2001.
Strauss-Kahn made his come back on the political scene in 2006 as he sought the nomination in the primaries to the Socialist presidential candidacy for the election the following year. After a total of only 20% of the militants' suffrage he had to admit defeat against a triumphant Segolene Royal. His disastrous performance even prompted the US ambassador to remark he lacked the "fire in the belly" to win.
The following year in 2007, with President Nicolas Sarkozy's blessing and the help of Jean Claude Junker, the Luxembourg Prime Minister, he was made chief of the International Monetary Fund just before the worst post-war financial crisis struck, winning international plaudits for his role in handling the crisis.
However 2007 was also the second time that DSK was implicated in a controversial affair, after a Tristane Banon, a French journalist and writer, accused him of attempting to rape her in 2002. She however did not press charges. Also, in 2008, an independent investigator was appointed following allegations that Strauss-Kahn had had an affair with a subordinate Piroska Nagy, whom he later made redundant and assisted in getting a new job. As a result of the affair, Strauss-Kahn was forced to issue a public apology.
It was the comments of Anne Sinclair, his third wife since 1991, that first attracted speculations surrounding Straus-Kahn's presidential ambition after she declared in the French Magazine, Le Point that she did not wish for her husband to do a second mandate as the head of the IMF. Since then, Strauss-Kahn's position as a potential contender to president Sarkozy was confirmed by his leading position in national polls.
On Saturday the 14th of May 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested over allegations of serious sexual assault. He is alleged to have carried out a brutal attack on a hotel maid in his Sofitel New York Suite and is currently waiting for his first hearing, which should take place on Monday 16th May.
The arrest of DSK was described by the French socialist Party leader as a 'thunderbolt.' While it will undoubtedly affect the PS chances of winning the 2012 presidential elections, his arrest also came at a time where the decisions of the IMF on its Eurozone policies are anxiously awaited and scrutinized, putting the international financial institution in an awkward position.