By Marcus Leach

Bookmakers William Hill have announced that Christine Lagarde of France is an odds-on shot to succeed Dominique Strauss-Khan as permanent head of the International Monetary Fund.

Ever since Mr Strauss-Kahn stepped down following allegations concerning his private life there has been speculation as to who would assume control, with Christine Lagarde having started as a 20/1 outsider.

"Over half of all the bets we have taken have been for Christine Lagarde and she is now a hot favourite — although there has also been significant support for South Africa’s Trevor Manuel who has been halved in odds from 10/1 to 5/1 third favourite" said William Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Gordon Brown has yet to attract any serious bets and his odds have been shunted out from 8/1 to 20/1, while William Hills also report money for 50/1 shots Peter Mandelson and Alistair Darling.