IMF chief to stand trial in $440 Mn fraud

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(Last Updated On: 2016-09-13)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, will December 12 stand trial for her role in alleged misappropriation of $440 million, while serving as France finance minister eight years ago.

Lagarde’s appeal against a judge’s order in December for her to stand trial at Cour de Justice de la Republique, a special court, that tries ministers for crimes committed in office, was rejected by France’s highest appeals court.

Confirming her standing trial, Patrick Maisonneuve, Lagarde’s lawyer, said “She will attend the trials,” even as he denied wrongdoing of his client.

If the IMF Chief is convicted, she would spend a year in prison and pay a fine of about $17,000.

The trial, which will run until Dec. 20, will only be the fifth in the history of the tribunal, which is made up of three judges and six lawmakers from both the lower and upper houses of parliament.

Lagarde is accused of negligence with the result that public funds were misused by improperly approving the decision to allow an out-of-court arbitration in the dispute with Tapie, a supporter of conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

A Paris appeals court has ordered Tapie to reimburse the state, but the businessman has lodged an appeal, which is still pending.

The case goes back to when businessman, Bernard Tapie, sued the state for compensation after selling his stake in sports company Adidas to Credit Lyonnais in 1993. He claimed the bank had defrauded him after it later resold his stake for a much higher sum.

Lagarde has not been accused of profiting from the Tapie case, which has been moving through the French courts for years. The issue is whether she gave him preferential treatment.

The IMF Chief would be tried by a special court that handles actions carried out by public officials while they are in office. It is composed of members of parliament and magistrates.

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