Lagarde defiant as negligence trial opens in Paris
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde pledged to fight "allegation by allegation" charges of negligence when she went on trial in Paris yesterday over her role in a huge payout by the French state to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Ms Lagarde (60) was France's finance minister in Nicolas Sarkozy's government when she approved an out-of-court settlement with Mr Tapie to end a long-running dispute between the magnate and the state.
The decision to accept an extremely rare private arbitration ended up costing French taxpayers more than €400m.
Accused of negligence leading to misuse of public funds, Ms Lagarde denies any wrongdoing. She risks up to a year in jail and a fine of €15,000 if convicted.
"I would like to show you that I am in no way guilty of negligence, but rather that I acted in good faith with only the public interest in mind," she said in the opening hearing. Was I negligent? No. And I will strive to convince you allegation by allegation."