International Monetary Fund managing director and former Economy Minister Christine Lagarde appears in court at the Palais de Justice, in Paris, France.
International Monetary Fund managing director and former Economy Minister Christine Lagarde appears in court at the Palais de Justice, in Paris, France. CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

IMF head digs in as trial opens

THE head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has pledged to fight "allegation by allegation” charges of negligence in a trial in Paris over her role in a huge payout by France to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Ms Lagarde was finance minister in the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy when she approved a settlement out of court to end a long-running dispute between Mr Tapie and an arm of the government.

Mr Tapie was a supporter of President Sarkozy.

Her decision to accept an extremely rare private arbitration cost French taxpayers $568 million paid to Mr Tapie.

Ms Lagarde has been charged with negligence leading to misuse of public funds.

She risks a year in jail and a fine of $21,300 if convicted.

Her French predecessor, Dominique Strauss Kahn, quit as IMF head over a sex assault scandal. A sentence could cost her the job too.



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