French baffled by IMF chief’s bizarre letter to Sarkozy
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A leaked letter in which IMF chief Christine Lagarde pledges her allegiance to former president Nicolas Sarkozy has caused bewilderment in France, raising further suspicions over fraud at the highest levels of government.
“Use me”, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde purportedly urged former president Nicolas Sarkozy, in a letter court investigators seized at her Paris home in March and which was leaked to the French press.
The undated and handwritten letter, a wholehearted pledge of allegiance to Sarkozy, has caused bemusement in France because of its strange choice of words, but has also rekindled concerns about Lagarde’s role in a controversial settlement that awarded millions of euros from the state to controversial French businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.
The IMF chief was questioned for several hours on May 23 by prosecutors looking into whether the settlement was the result of fraud. More specifically, investigators are probing whether Tapie received the payout thanks to his cozy relationship with the Sarkozy administration – which included Lagarde as finance minister.
Prosecutors cleared Lagarde of any charges after quizzing her, only requesting that she stay involved in the ongoing investigations as a witness.
However, the leaked letter – in which she tells Sarkozy “Use me for as long as it suits you and suits your plans and casting call” – has thrust her back into the spotlight, calling her impartiality into question and showering her with ridicule for the unusual style and vocabulary used.
It was not clear when the letter was written and why it was in Lagarde’s home if it was addressed to Sarkozy. She did not immediately react to news of the leaked letter.
A translation of the full text originally published on the website of daily Le Monde follows below.
Dear Nicolas, very briefly and respectfully,
1) I am by your side to serve you and serve your plans for France.
2) I tried my best and might have failed occasionally. I implore your forgiveness.
3) I have no personal political ambitions and I have no desire to become a servile status seeker, like many of the people around you whose loyalty is recent and short-lived.
4) Use me for as long as it suits you and suits your plans and casting call.
5) If you decide to use me, I need you as a guide and a supporter: without a guide, I may be ineffective and without your support I may lack credibility.
With my great admiration, Christine L.