IMF’s Christine Lagarde ordered to stand trial over pay-out to businessman

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

A court in France has ordered Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stand trial over her role in a pay-out of about €400 million to a businessman, Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Reports from the international media quoted her lawyer, Yves Repiquet as saying, “It’s incomprehensible. I will recommend Mrs Lagarde appeal against this decision.”

Ms. Lagarde, 59, was Finance Minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government at the time of the compensation award to Tapie for the sale of a firm.

The BBC recounts that Mr Tapie was once a majority shareholder in sports goods company Adidas but sold it in 1993 in order to become a cabinet minister in Francois Mitterrand’s Socialist government.

He sued the Credit Lyonnais bank over its handling of the sale, alleging that the partly state-owned bank had defrauded him by deliberately undervaluing the company.

His case was later referred by Ms. Lagarde to a three-member arbitration panel which awarded the compensation.

Investigators suspect he was granted a deal in return for his support of Nicolas Sarkozy, the reports say.

Earlier this month, a French court ruled that Mr. Tapie was not entitled to any compensation for that sale and should pay back the €400m with interest.

Ms. Lagarde succeeded Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF Managing Director in 2011 after Strauss-Khan stood down following his arrest in New York on sexual assault charges.

The charges were later dropped.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, was also a former French minister of state.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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