French court orders investigation involving Christine Lagarde
Published 04/08/2011 | 14:53
The head of the International Monetary fund (IMF) and former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde could be forced to appear in court after an investigation was ordered today.
A French court has ordered the probe into a multi-million settlement paid to a businessman who was a friend of French president Nicolas Sarkozy when Ms Lagarde was finance minister.
Ms Lagarde was French finance minister at the time of a payment of €285m to Bernard Tapie to settle a long legal dispute with a former state-owned bank in 2008.
She has denied any misconduct in her approval of the payment and there is no suggestion she profited from the final settlement.
Mr Tapie is a former left-wing government minister who switched sides to support Mr Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.
He had lost the case in 2006 and was appealing it when Mr Sarkozy came to power the following year.
It is understood that Ms Lagarde overruled objections from ministry officials to drop the case at the time.