French prosecutors set to drop case against IMF’s Lagarde

French prosecutors set to drop case against IMF’s Lagarde

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:22 pm

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde

French prosecutors have requested that the case against the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde over business arbitration when she was French finance minister be dismissed.

The state prosecutor’s office in Paris said on Wednesday.

Lagarde, 59, has been under investigation for alleged negligence in connection with a 400-million-euro (445-million-dollar) state payout to businessman Bernard Tapie over the sale of his sportswear company Adidas.

She had always described the allegations in the long-running affair as “completely unfounded.”

Lagarde has had to undergo lengthy hearings in Paris in connection with the case.

Prosecutors originally said that during mediation she had pushed for a settlement that was far more than might have been decided by a court.

IMF staff had repeatedly backed Lagarde’s position.

An IMF spokesman in Washington said neither the IMF nor Lagarde herself would comment on the latest development.

It is now up to the Law Court of the Republic (Cour de Justice de la Republique), which investigates allegations of ministerial wrongdoing, to decide whether to drop the case.

Tapie’s support for then-president Nicolas Sarkozy during his 2007 election campaign sparked suspicion of a sweetheart deal to benefit the businessman.

Tapie saw himself as unduly pressured by the bank Credit Lyonnais in selling his shares in the German sportswear maker.

Lagarde has headed the IMF since 2011, taking over from former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to give up the post following a sex scandal.

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