Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 1.40% on Monday to 7,299.16 points
European stock markets slid Monday on fears that the arrest of IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Khan could hit efforts to tame the eurozone debt crisis, as finance ministers met to approve Portugal's bailout
. In late morning deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index sank 0.82 % to 5,877.71 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 1.40 % to 7,299.16 points and in Paris the CAC 40 index shed 1.35 % to 3,963.72.
The Stox 50 index of leading eurozone companies lost 1.26 % to 2,858.25 points.
"European equities have commenced trading with caution this morning on concerns that the Strauss-Khan affair will likely delay any progress on the European debt crisis," said Spreadex trader Chris Purdy
The storm over the IMF chief's sex assault case threw a giant cloud Monday over a European finance ministers' meeting on Monday.
Strauss-Khan, who has played a key role in striving to tame Europe's debt crisis, had been due at the EU talks starting around 1300 GMT.
In company news on Monday, the London Stock Exchange said it remained committed to a merger with its Toronto counterpart, after a Canadian consortium launched an informal takeover bid that could derail the deal.
Elsewhere, German luxury carmaker Daimler and British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce mooted a raised offer for German motor and turbine maker Tognum.
In reaction, shares in Daimler dropped 2.23 % to 49.43 euros and Rolls-Royce shed 0.77 % to 643 pence.
Tognum shares showed an increase of 0.58 percent to 26.2 euros, while the MDax index on which they are listed was 0.38 % lower overall.
A merger of the company with relevant activities already owned by Daimler and Rolls-Royce would create a global leader in the "off-highway" sector of marine, energy, defence and industrial applications.
Late on Friday, Daimler and Rolls-Royce said they might increase their offer by 8.3 % to 26.0 euros for each Tognum share as part of a bid that runs from April 6 to May 18 but which had been rejected by Tognum directors.
Tognum is reportedly not hostile to a takeover but said on Friday it had not officially received the new offer and could thus not make any recommendation on it to shareholders.
In Asia, Japanese shares closed down 0.94 percent on Monday after more details emerged on the damage to a stricken nuclear plant, sending Tokyo Electric Power and other utilities lower, dealers said.
Ratings agency Moody's meanwhile again downgraded TEPCO, the operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, and warned the rating would remain on review for further possible action.