World Economy

IMF Chief Faces Jail for Bailing Out Tycoon

IMF Chief Faces Jail for Bailing Out TycoonIMF Chief Faces Jail for Bailing Out Tycoon

Christine Lagarde, the sitting 60-year-old International Monetary Fund managing director since July 2011 and former French finance minister, is likely to be prosecuted and convicted for one year, if found guilty, of illegally bailing out a compatriot business magnate Bernard Tapie to settle his £339 million outstanding bank liability in 2008.

Lagarde, who is also a French lawyer and Union for a Popular Movement politician, will also have to pay a fine of €15,000 if she is found guilty of accommodating the tycoon beyond the prescribed legal parameters.

A prestigious British newspaper “Daily Mail” has stated: “A French prosecutor has said IMF chief Christine Lagarde should stand trial for her handling of a massive state payout to a business tycoon in 2008 when she was the country’s finance minister. The prosecutor recommended the rejection of a challenge by Lagarde, 60, to a December court order for her to stand trial for negligence in the affair, which saw Bernard Tapie receive £339 million of taxpayers’ money.”

The British media outlet has maintained: “If the order is upheld, Lagarde will be tried in the Law Court of the Republic, which handles cases concerning offences committed by sitting government ministers. As a result of the arbitration, Tapie was awarded the payout to be made by a state-run body in charge of settling the bank’s debts. The negligence charge comes over Lagarde’s allowing the private arbitration and her failure to challenge the award, which was hugely beneficial to Tapie but prejudicial to the state. The 73-year-old tycoon was ordered to repay the award to the government in February 2015.”

The Daily Mail added: “Tapie has had a checkered career. He owned Olympique Marseille football club when they won four league championships and a Champions League title but he was later convicted of match-fixing charges and jailed for seven months in 1997.

“Despite her legal woes, the International Monetary Fund board in February named Lagarde to a second term as managing director, which officially starts next week. But a ruling on the Tapie case is expected on July 22.”