French court finds IMF chief guilty of negligence

Posted By: IANS
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Paris, Dec 19 A French court has found Christine Lagarde, now Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), guilty of negligence in the execution of her duties when she was Economy Minister in the French government in 2008.

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The Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) -- which tries cases of ministerial misconduct -- ruled that Lagarde should not be penalised, reports Efe. The lawyer defending 60-year-old Lagarde, who did not attend the court hearing as she was in Washington DC, said that his team was considering whether to appeal the ruling.

The IMF in Washington said that its executive committee would meet to analyse recent events. The ruling came as a surprise as a French prosecutor had on Thursday called for Lagarde to be exonerated of any alleged negligence. Lagarde could have faced up to one year in prison and a 15,000 euro ($15,850) fine if found guilty, with 15 CJR magistrates determining her legal responsibility.

She was accused of negligence during her stint as France's Finance Minister (2007-2011), when she approved an out-of-court arbitration in a dispute with Bernard Tapie, a businessman and close friend of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Tapie decided to sue the French state demanding compensation after it sold his stake in the Adidas sports company to Crédit Lyonnais in 1993, then a state-owned bank, arguing the bank defrauded him after it resold its stake for a much higher price.

While Lagarde has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, Tapie received a payment of $428 million in compensation.

IANS

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