Saturday 24 August 2019

Lagarde faces jail in negligence trial on €405m payout

Accused: Christine Lagarde Picture: Reuters
Accused: Christine Lagarde Picture: Reuters

Phillipe Sotto

Christine Lagarde is taking time off her day job solving the world's financial crises to face trial today, accused of negligence after the French state handed €405m to a tycoon close to then-president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008.

The well-respected, silver-haired head of the International Monetary Fund has denied wrongdoing in the case, which dates to her time in the French government when she was economy and finance minister.

The trial is due to last until December 20.

Lagarde (60) faces up to a year in prison and a €15,000 fine if convicted of negligence. The judges were expected to return a verdict in the wake of the last hearing but they could also announce a ruling at a later date.

Lagarde's trial and possible conviction may raise concern about her ability to remain IMF boss. The Washington-based institution's credibility was already shaken when her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, also a French citizen, was forced to resign amid sexual assault allegations in 2011.

The IMF's board has so far supported Lagarde at all stages of the French legal proceedings, which began the month after her appointment in July 2011.

Irish Independent

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