The Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, will face trial in France for her role in the pay out of about €400 million to a French businessman.
Before getting the job at IMF, Lagarde was the Finance Minister in France, and presided over a panel that recommended that the businessman, Bernard Tapie, be paid the sum of €400 million as compensation for a claim he made on the government.
Tapie had claimed that he was defrauded by a state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over a failed sale of sportswear giant Adidas, when the bank sold his stake later at a much higher price.
Reports say critics complained that the 2008 payment claim was “too generous” but Lagarde had declared it as “without merit” at the time, Daily Mail reported.
The businessman went ahead to demand a further €1 billion, a claim a French court dismissed earlier this month, while ordering him to refund the €400 million he was earlier paid to the government.
Lagarde is accused of negligence in her role as head of the panel, but her lawyer, Yves Repiquet, said he would advise her to appeal the decision, which he called “incomprehensible”.
Reports say the decision to try her is coming as a surprise as the prosecutor had recommended in September that investigations concerning her role in the matter be dropped.