IMF chief Lagarde found guilty over French tycoon payment

PARIS: A French court found IMF head Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence over a massive state payout to a tycoon when she was French finance minister, but she will continue to lead the fund.
Lagarde was spared her a fine or prison sentence, and the International Monetary Fund board meeting in Washington said it retains “full confidence” in her ability to continue to lead the organisation.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, Lagarde said she was not happy with the court ruling, even though she faces no penalty, but would not appeal.
“I am not satisfied, but there comes a point in time when one just has to stop, turn the page, and move on and continue to work with those who have put their trust in me,” Lagarde said, calling the process a “painful” one.
A special court in Paris found against Lagarde over her handling of a dispute between the state and flamboyant businessman Bernard Tapie, which ended in a 404 million euro ($422 million) award for Tapie.
The court rapped Lagarde for failing to contest the massive payment, which was linked to Tapie’s sale of the Adidas sportswear brand to Credit Lyonnais bank.
However, the court exempted her from any penalty, citing her “international reputation” and the fact that at the time of the events in 2008 she was busy fighting a global financial inferno.
The high-flying 60-year-old former corporate lawyer became the first female IMF chief in 2011, succeeding her disgraced compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
And despite her legal troubles she was reappointed in February to a second five-year term. — AFP

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