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IMF chief Lagarde stands trial over Tapie affair

By Ians English

Paris, Dec 13 Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, went on trial on Monday over her role in a scandal involving business magnate Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Christine Lagarde

Lagarde, 60, appeared at the French Court of Justice, a tribunal which handles the trials of government officials, for alleged negligence over a state payout, Xinhua news agency reported.

If convicted, Lagarde, who was French Finance Minister from 2007 to 2011, could face up to a year in jail and a fine of 15,000 euros ($15,931).

A court sentence could also force Lagarde, who replaced Dominique Strauss Kahn in 2011 to be the Managing Director of the IMF, to quit her post.

"Negligence is a non-intentional offence. I think we are all a bit negligent sometimes in our life. I have done my job as well as I could, within the limits of what I knew," the IMF boss told France2 TV on Sunday.

Lagarde has been investigated since August 2011 for her role in awarding financial compensation of 405 million euros to Tapie in his dispute with Credit Lyonnais over the acquisition of sports apparel company Adidas in 2008.

Th ex-Finance Minister, who was re-appointed by the IMF for another five-year term in February, denied wrongdoing.

Tapie, who was under formal investigation, was ordered in December 2015 to pay the 405 million euros to Credit Lyonnais.

The IMF chief's trial is scheduled to run until December 20.

(1 euro=1.06 U.S. dollars)


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