News Column

Lagarde investigated for negligence in fraud case

August 28, 2014

PARIS: International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde had been placed under formal investigation by French magistrates for negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister, her lawyer said yesterday.

Lawyer Yves Repiquet said Lagarde, who this week was questioned by magistrates in Paris for a fourth time as a witness in the long-running saga, said the step was unfounded.

Repiquet said Lagarde had no plans to resign.

In French law, magistrates place someone under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.

The inquiry relates to allegations that tycoon Bernard Tapie, a supporter of conservative ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, was improperly awarded e403 million (R5.7 billion) in an arbitration to settle a dispute with now defunct bank Credit Lyonnais.

The inquiry has embroiled several of Sarkozy's cabinet members and France Telecom chief executive Stephane Richard, an aide to Lagarde when she was Sarkozy's finance minister.

In previous rounds of questioning, Lagarde accused Richard of having used her pre-printed signature to sign off on a document facilitating the payment, local media has said. However, Richard has stated Lagarde was fully briefed on the matter. - Reuters

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)

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