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Passport returned to former IMF chief; But Strauss-Kahn has plans in U.S.

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn is free to travel the world again after getting his passport back Thursday from prosecutors who dropped a high-profile sexual assault case against him.

But it's unclear when he might put the passport to use. He has said he "can't wait to go back" to his native France but has other things to do first. The former IMF leader has said he plans to visit its headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he has a home, as early as next week.

Strauss-Kahn's passport was returned to his lawyers Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the passport's return, which was done privately.

Strauss-Kahn lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William W. Taylor aren't divulging their client's next move.

The economist, former diplomat and one-time French presidential prospect has been in New York since a weekend trip turned into an arrest, nearly a week in jail and about three months in a hastily rented, $50,000-a-month town home where he was initially on house arrest and under armed guard. He resigned his IMF post days after his arrest, saying he wanted to focus on clearing himself in the criminal case.

IMF spokesman David Hawley wouldn't say Thursday why Strauss-Kahn, 62, planned to visit. But the former managing director may want to say farewell to former colleagues and apologize in person to the staffers if they feel his involvement in the sex case tarnished the 187-nation lending organization's reputation.

The visit could take place next week and would not be open to the press or public, Hawley said.

The attempted rape and other charges against Strauss-Kahn, who's married, were dismissed Tuesday after prosecutors said they no longer considered his accuser reliable. The accuser, a hotel maid from Guinea, had lied to prosecutors about her background and varied her account of her actions after her May 14 encounter with him, they said.

The maid, Nafissatou Diallo, 33, says her account of Strauss-Kahn forcing her to perform oral sex is entirely true, and she's pursuing the allegations in a lawsuit that seeks unspecified damages from him. Her lawyer has criticized the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for dropping the case.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers say whatever happened after Diallo arrived to clean his hotel suite was consensual.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they choose to identify themselves publicly, as Diallo has done.

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