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IMF Chief questioned again over €400m state payout to ex football boss

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde in Sydney, February 2014
IMF Chief Christine Lagarde in Sydney, February 2014 AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was back in court for questioning over her role in a controversial payout made to a French businessman, Bernard Tapie. Ms Lagarde was called in on Wednesday 19 March for a joint hearing with Orange boss Stéphane Richard, to explain contradictions in their statements.  

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Appearing in court for a third time, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, once again denied any wrongdoing in a high-profile corruption case, that saw the state award €400m to controversial businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.

The payout was intended to settle a commercial dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais, but prosecutors argue the sum was beefed up to win Tapie's support for ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 election.

Christine Lagarde, who was finance minister at the time, and Mr Richard her chief of staff, were questioned by the Court of Justice of the Republic, which deals with cases of alleged ministerial misconduct.

Prosecutors have accused Lagarde of being partly responsible for numerous anomalies and irregularities in the case, which could lead to charges of complicity in fraud, and the misuse of public funds.

Lagarde has been given a special witness status, which means she may have to come back to France for questioning... and also leaves the door open for charges at a later date.

 

 

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