IMF’s Lagarde stands trial over state payout

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde stands trial for her role in a 400 million euro payout as French finance minister in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie, at the Cour de Justice de la Republique, saying she is confident she has done nothing wrong. Mia Womersley reports.

(REUTERS, EBS) – The head of the International Monetary Fund in court over a state payout to a French businessman.

Christine Lagarde standing trial over her role in a 400 million euro payment to Bernard Tapie.

She was France’s finance minister at the time.

And says she is feeling confident she did nothing wrong.

Lagarde is accused of negligence leading to misuse of public funds.

She approved an extremely rare decision to allow an out-of-court settlement that ended up costing taxpayers dearly.

Lagarde denies that she had favoured Tapie or had acted on the President Sarkozy’s orders.

She could face up to a year in jail and a fine of 15,000 euros.

A Paris appeals court has ordered Tapie to reimburse the state.

But he has lodged an appeal that is still pending.

Lagarde took over the IMF in 2011 after her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit amid a sex scandal.

A guilty verdict would risk plunging the IMF into another leadership crisis.

The trial will be only be the fifth in the history of the Cour de Justice de la Republique.

A special court that tries ministers for crimes in office.