Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Low turnout in Algerian election tipped to return Bouteflika

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton says she is pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

France

IMF chief Lagarde returns to court for questioning

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-24

IMF chief Christine Lagarde faces a second day of questioning Friday after being grilled for 12 hours a day earlier as prosecutors seek to determine whether she should face charges regarding a €400 million payout to a controversial businessman.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde faces a second day of questioning on Friday after being grilled for hours a day earlier as French prosecutors try to determine whether she should face charges over a state payout to a controversial businessman in 2007, when she was serving as finance minister.

Lagarde, 57, left a Paris court late on Thursday after facing around 12 hours of prosecutor questions. "See you tomorrow," she told reporters as she left the building.

Her court appearance came a day after Lagarde, the first woman to run an organisation considered a pillar of the international financial system, was named the world's seventh-most-powerful woman by Forbes magazine.

The Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), which probes cases of ministerial misconduct, is seeking an explanation of her 2007 handling of a row that resulted in a €400 million ($515 million) payout to controversial businessman Bernard Tapie. Court prosecutors suspect he received favourable treatment in return for supporting Lagarde ally Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election, which he subsequently won.

They have suggested Lagarde was partly responsible for "numerous anomalies and irregularities" that could lead to her facing charges for complicity in fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

The investigation centres on her 2007 request to a panel of judges to arbitrate a dispute between Tapie and Credit Lyonnais – formerly a partly state-owned bank – over his 1993 sale of sports group Adidas. Tapie accused Credit Lyonnais of defrauding him by knowingly undervaluing Adidas at the time of the sale and argued that the state, as the principal shareholder in the bank, should pay him compensation.

Lagarde has said the arbitration was necessary to put an end to a costly legal dispute, and has always denied having acted under orders from Sarkozy.

Tapie’s arguments were upheld by an arbitration panel but critics claimed the state should not have risked being forced to pay compensation to a convicted criminal who, as he was bankrupt at the time, would not have been able to pursue the case through the courts. Tapie served time in prison for match-fixing when he was president of the French football club Olympique de Marseille.

The payment Tapie received enabled him to clear his huge debts and tax liabilities and, according to media reports, left him with between €20 million and €40 million that he has used to relaunch his career.

Criminal charges against Lagarde would be a second straight disgrace for a French IMF chief. Her predecessor and compatriot, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned from the IMF in 2011 following allegations that he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.

Lagarde has downplayed the investigation, but the stakes are high for both her and the organisation she represents, which nevertheless has expressed confidence in its chief.

"The executive board has been briefed on that matter, including recently, and continues to express its confidence in the managing director's ability to effectively carry out her duties," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in Washington.
 
(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-05-24

  • FRANCE

    IMF chief Lagarde faces inquiry over tycoon payout

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    IMF's Lagarde to face court grilling in corruption case

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Police raid prompts IMF’s Lagarde to speak out

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)