IMF head ordered to face trial over Tapie affair

Paris, Dec 18 (IANS) France’s Court of Justice of the Republic ordered International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde to stand trial for her role in handling a scandal involving business magnate Bernard Tapie in 2008, media reported on Thursday.

The court, which handles the trials of government officials, decided to question the IMF boss again as part of the investigation into “complicity in forgery and embezzlement of public funds” in the Tapie case, two months after a prosecutor demanded the charges against her be dropped, Xinhua reported.

As former French finance minister, Lagarde has been investigated since August 2011 for her role in awarding financial compensation of 405 million euros ($438.14 million) to Tapie in his dispute with Credit Lyonnais on the acquisition of Adidas in 2008.

The French former finance minister denied wrongdoing and said she had ordered her lawyers to appeal the court decision, news channel iTele reported.

In May 2013, the 59-year-old former lawyer was named as an “assisted witness” in the corruption probe, which meant there was a possibility for her to be charged later.

Fourteen months after, Lagarde was put under formal investigation for “negligence” in the Tapie affair. However, she maintained her innocence since the investigation began in 2011.

Tapie, who was also under formal investigation, was ordered earlier this month to pay the 405 million euros to Credit Lyonnais.

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