Former French finance minister and current managing director of The International Monetary Fund has stated her confidence ahead of the trial beginning in to the potential misuse of public funds over a payout to Bernard Tapie, a French businessman at the centre of claims over a 400m euro payout in 2008.
At the Time, Lagarde was the French finance minster in the cabinet of Nicolas Sarkozy. Lagarde has been accused of being negligent in her role, by approving the decision to payout the businessman. The businessman himself was a known supporter of Former Presidnt Sarkozy, who recently failed in a bid to win the conservative nomination to be the next President of France.
It’s thought that if found guilty Lagarde could be at risk of facing a one year prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros. She has previously denied negligence, stating that “negligence is a non-intentional offence.” She went on to state that “I have done my job as well as I could, within the limits of what I knew”.
The claims revert back to a case for compensation brought by Tapie against Credit Lyonnais. Credit Lyonnais was at the time owned by the French government. He claimed that the bank had defrauded him on a deal involving shares in the German sports manufacurer Adidas. It was at this point that the extraordinary settlement was made out of court, with arbiters ruling in Mr Tapie’s favour and the state being ordered to pay the sum. Though this arbitration decision was cast in to further doubt when successfully appealed about later on. Mr Tapie then launched a further appeal to prevent having to pay the state back, as was the result of the later appeal. This latest appeal is still pending, and the state has not been repaid.
It’s hoped by many that Lagarde will be cleared, after she had taken the role of another troubled figure in Dominique Strauss-Kahn who quit as managing director of the IMF in 2011 because of a sex scandal. The IMF has reiterated its confidence in its managing director. But they will certainly hope to avoid any further embarrassment to the fund.
The trial will be the fifth time in French history that the Cour de Justice de la Republique has tried a minister. It is made up of a mixture of judges and lawyers and will have the final say in the case against Lagarde.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.