International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will go on trial in France on December 12 in connection with a case of fraud after a court rejected an appeal in the matter on Monday, CNN reported. The former French finance minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government will be tried by the Court of Justice of the Republic, which hears cases against ministers accused of wrongdoings while in office, AFP reported.
Lagarde has been accused of negligence and giving preferential treatment to French tycoon Bernard Tapie when the latter was involved in a financial dispute with Credit Lyonnais, a state-owned bank at the time. Investigators have said her order for an arbitration into the dispute over the sale of sportswear giant Adidas led to the “misuse of public money”. Tapie was initially awarded a compensation of $445 million (approximately Rs 2,977 crore) in 2008 following the arbitration process. He was later ordered to repay the amount.
Lagarde, who has not been accused of personally profiting from the case, has denied the accusations against her, saying the acted in France’s best interests. Others who face charges in the case include Tapie, Lagarde’s former chief of staff in the finance ministry and Stephane Richard, the chief executive of telecom giant Orange.
Meanwhile, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said the Fund’s executive board will continue to “express its confidence in the managing director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties”. The IMF faces a credibility crisis as the Washington-based institution’s last three managing directors have had to face trial. While Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned from his position in 2011 after facing sexual assault charges, Rodrigo Rato has been accused of misusing funds when he headed Spanish lender Bankia.