IMF’s Lagarde put under investigation in French fraud case

PARIS, (Reuters) – International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been placed under formal investigation by French magistrates for negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister, her lawyer said today.

Lawyer Yves Repiquet told Reuters that Lagarde, who this week was questioned by magistrates in Paris for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga, said the step was unfounded.

“We are appealing it,” Repiquet said by telephone, adding that Lagarde, who was due to return to IMF headquarters in Washington later on Wednesday, had no plans to resign.

In French law, magistrates place someone under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.

The inquiry relates to allegations tycoon Bernard Tapie, a supporter of conservative ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, was improperly awarded 403 million euros in an arbitration to settle a dispute with now defunct, state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.

The inquiry has already embroiled several of Sarkozy’s cabinet members and France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard, who was an aide to Lagarde when she was Sarkozy’s finance minister.

In previous rounds of questioning, Lagarde accused Richard of having used her pre-printed signature to sign off on a document facilitating the payment, local media has said. However Richard has stated that Lagarde was fully briefed on the matter.

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

Investigators are trying to determine whether Tapie’s political connections played a role in the government’s decision to resort to arbitration that won him a huge pay-out.

The offence of negligence by a person charged with public responsibility in France carries a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a 15,000-euro fine.

Lagarde has been managing director of the IMF since July 2011. The IMF last year said that the global lender’s board had discussed possible consequences of the Tapie case and determined that she would be able to lead.

More in World News

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. The medical school sign on the Buddy’s building

    Buddy’s Pool Hall, Night Club closed after business falls

  2. Barry Dataram

    Who is to blame for Dataram escape?

  3. Lakeram Kewlachand

    Gangaram man takes his own life

  4. Colin Rodney

    Cop charged with taking bribes

  5. Citizens fleeing country due to crime, IAC says

  6. The Rio Inn at Forshaw and Oronoque Streets

    Teen shot dead outside Rio nightclub

  7. Courtenay Griffith’s home in Lodge that is earmarked to be demolished.

    City to tear down 52 derelict buildings

  8. Wayne Isaacs (New York Post photograph)

    Guyanese-born cop charged with killing unarmed civilian in NY

  9. Barry Dataram

    Absent Barry Dataram found guilty of drug trafficking


Recommended For You