The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a French presidential candidate was arrested Saturday afternoon in connection with a sexual assault at a Times Square hotel.

Plainsclothes officers from the Port Authority Police Of New York and New Jersey caught up with Dominique Strauss-Kahn minutes before his flight was to take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, Queens. Authorities say the plane was headed to Paris.

Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a hotel maid, and was reportedly taken to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit At P.S.A. 5.

Police say P.A. detectives boarded Air France Flight 23 on the JFK tarmac as the jet waited for the go-ahead from air traffic controllers to take off. They were reportedly acting on information provided by city police, who were in the midst of investigating the Midtown attack.

Strauss-Kahn is considered a leading contender from France's Socialist Party to take on President Nicholas Sarkozy. The former economics professor is married to a high-profile TV news reporter, and is no stranger to scandal. Reports say in 2008, he was caught up in a messy affair after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a subordinate. Strauss-Kahn survived the subsequent fallout and kept his job. He issued an apology saying he made an "error in judgment."

The I.M.F. was created following World War II; it provides low-cost loans to countries in financial trouble. It has been prominent in recent years, coming up with rescue packages for countries like Greece, Pakistan, Iceland, Hungary and Ukraine.