IMF chief Christine Lagarde, one of the world’s most powerful women, announced Wednesday she had been charged with “negligence” over a multimillion-euro corruption case relating to her time as French finance minister. The shock announcement came a day after she was grilled for more than 15 hours by a special court in Paris that probes ministerial misconduct, the fourth time she has been questioned in a case that has long weighed upon her position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
I have instructed my lawyer to appeal this decision which I consider totally without merit.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde
In France, being placed under formal investigation is the nearest equivalent to being charged, and happens when an examining magistrate has decided there is a case to be answered. It does not, however, always lead to a trial. Asked whether she intended to resign from the IMF, she responded: “No.” The case relates to her handling of a US$527 million state payout to disgraced French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008, which investigating judges suspect may have been doled out in return for his support of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 election.