French court finds IMF’s Lagarde guilty of negligence

Dec 20, 2016 (LBO) – A French court has found International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence in allowing the misuse of public funds, during her term as French finance minister.

The judges did not question Lagarde’s decision to seek an out-of-court settlement with tycoon Bernard Tapie, but they said her failure to contest the award to him of about 400 million euros ($417 million) was negligent and led to a misuse of public funds, Reuters reported.

Lagarde could potentially have been sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros, but escaped a sentence and emerges from the trial without a criminal record.

EJudge Martine Ract Madoux said: “The context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself in should be taken into account.”

As French finance minister in 2008, she approved an award to businessman Tapie for the disputed sale of a firm. The IMF board said it retained “full confidence” in her leadership.

She said she would not appeal against the ruling: “There’s a point in time when one has to just stop, turn the page and move on and continue to work with those who have put their trust in me.”