Sunday 15 December 2019

French court delays decision on Lagarde’s role in business deal reporters

A French court has again delayed a decision whether to investigate the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief’s role in securing a controversial €285m arbitration deal for a businessman.

Christine Lagarde, has just taken over at the helm of the IMF after her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, quit to faces rape charges in New York.

But she was French finance minister at the time of the 2008 arbitration deal for magnate Bernard Tapie.

Mr Tapie won a generous settlement with a French state-owned bank over the mishandled sale of sportswear maker Adidas in the 1990s.

A French prosecutor suspects Ms Largarde overstepped her authority at the time and wants an investigation into her role in the deal.

The court, which handles cases involving Government ministers, put back its decision until August 4 because one of the judges on the panel recused himself.

Ms Lagarde told French TV: “I have the exact same confidence, and same sense of calm.”

The IMF management was aware of the possible investigation when it chose Ms Lagarde as its new boss.

Any investigation, if launched, would take months, if not years, and might not necessarily result in a trial.

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