By Marcus Leach

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) are looking for a new chief after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned following allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, in a statement, said he has already notified the IMF's executive board of his intention to resign with immediate effect.

He again firmly denied the criminal charges against him.

"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," Mr Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

"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.

"To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.

"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 said it would maker a decision in the near future about Mr Strauss-Kahn's successor.