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Christine Lagarde convicted: IMF head found guilty of criminal charges over massive government payout

Peter Walker

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Dec. 19, 2016

But former French finance minister, who faced potentially one year in jail, will not face any punishment

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been convicted over her role in a controversial €400m (£355m) payment to a businessman.

French judges found Ms Lagarde guilty of negligence for failing to challenge the state arbitration payout to the friend of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The 60-year-old, following a week-long trial in Paris, was not given any sentence and will not be punished.

The Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal for ministers, could have given Ms Lagarde up to one-year in prison and a €13,000 fine.

The ruling, however, risks triggering a new leadership crisis at the IMF after Ms Lagarde’s predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned in 2011 over a sex assault scandal.

Ms Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time of the payment in 2008, has denied the negligence charges.

Her lawyer said immediately after the ruling that his team would look into appealing the decision.

On Friday she told the court: “These five days [of trial] put an end to a five-year ordeal for my partner, my sons, my brothers, who are here in this courtroom.

“In this case, like in all the other cases, I acted with trust and with a clear conscience with the only intention of defending the public interest.”

The case surrounded the decision to allow a dispute over Bernard Tapie’s sale of Adidas to Crédit Lyonnais bank to be resolved by a rarely-used private arbitration panel – instead of the courts.

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/christine-lagarde-convicted-imf-head-found-guilty-of-negligence-in-fraud-trial-a7484586.html