"I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially - especially - I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence," Strauss-Kahn said, declaring "I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me."
His short statement paid tribute to his American-born wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, whom he said he loved more than anything, and spoke of his "infinite sadness" at being compelled to leave a job to which he had also been devoted.
The statement comes at a critical time for the IMF, amid delicate negotiations to
help overcome the eurozone debt crisis.
"The Fund will communicate in the near future on the Executive Board's
process of selecting a new Managing Director. Meanwhile, Mr. John Lipsky
remains Acting Managing Director," the IMF said.
The German government released a statement saying it "respects" Strauss-Kahn's decision to resign as chief of the IMF, saying it will allow the institution to return to normality.
Strauss-Kahn, who was also the favourite to be the Socialist Party candidate in next years French presidential elections, is currently in jail awaiting a grand jury decision on whether to indict him on charges of the alleged sexual assault and the alleged attempted rape of a 32-year-old Manhattan hotel chambermaid.