By Marcus Leach

The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) boss, on charges of sexual assault has overshadowed a key meeting of the eurozone financial leaders.

Strauss-Kahn was set to attend the meeting in Brussels in order to discuss further help for Greece's already debt-ridden economy. However, his arrest in New York meant he was unable to attend, and the subsequent media frenzy overshadowed the meeting.

The key issue up for debate at the meeting centred around what conditions to to apply to further financial bail-outs to Greece, as well as the approval of a 78 billion euro bail-out for Portugal. Further to that there was also due to be a progress report on how the Irish Republic is dealing with their debt crisis.

Experts were concerned at the absence of Mr Strauss-Kahn from such an important meeting, especially given his role with the IMF.

"The leadership vacuum at the IMF comes at a highly inopportune time for Europe, which is teetering on the brink of a full-blown debt crisis," said Eswar Prasad, a professor of international economics at Cornell University and a former IMF official.

Lucinda Creighton, the Irish Republic minister for Europe, told RTE that Mr Strauss-Kahn was "somebody who has had a significant role in the events of recent months in relation to the Irish bail-out".

However, unlike experts, Creighton was not overly concerned with MR Strauss-Kahn's absence.

"But it is not unusual for the head of the IMF to be absent from a meeting like this and I don't think it'll really have any impact," she said.