Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

IMF Chief to Stand Trial in France | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55350672

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Reuters

Paris-There seems to be a curse for French citizens who reach the leadership of the International Monetary Fund that is based in Washington.

The previous IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a Frenchman, was forced to resign in a lurid sex scandal.

Current IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde might be on the same path for different reasons.

On Friday, Lagarde was ordered to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a tycoon when she was French economy minister during the tenure of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

France’s highest appeals court dismissed Lagarde’s challenge against the decision to try her for negligence in her handling of a dispute between a state-owned bank and businessman Bernard Tapie.

Tapie walked away with a staggering 404 million euros ($445 million) in compensation in 2008 after Lagarde ordered the long-running row over the sale of Adidas to be resolved by arbitration.

Tapie claimed he was defrauded by Credit Lyonnais bank, which handled the sale of the sportswear giant that he owned between 1990 and 1993.

Friday’s ruling means Lagarde will go before a special tribunal that hears cases against government ministers accused of wrongdoing in the discharge of their duties.

Since the scandal erupted, it was revealed that several parties were aware about the process. Sarkozy’s economic affairs adviser has allegedly exercised pressure on the economy ministry.

After Sarkozy’s agenda came under scrutiny, it was revealed that the former president had on many occasions welcomed Tapie to the Elysee Palace, which implies that the presidency had a role in the case.

Tapie has had many suspicious activities in the past.

As for Lagarde, she insists that she has acted in France’s best interest. But if convicted, she risks up to a year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros.

Such a verdict would push her to resign and destroy her career.