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French court sets date for IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s trial

Nicolas Asfouri, AFP | A former French finance minister, Christine Lagarde has been at the helm of the International Monetary Fund since 2011.

International Monetary Find (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde will stand trial for her role in a €400 million ($440 million) payout as French finance minister in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie from December 12, a French court said on Monday.

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

"She will attend," Lagarde's lawyer Patrick Maisonneuve told Reuters.

The trial, which will run until December 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 'could face a year in prison'

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 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.

(REUTERS)

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