IMF Chief Lagarde’s Home Searched over Tapie Scandal
According to a statement made by IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s attorney, French investigators have searched her Paris home today, as part of an inquiry into her role in a €285 million ($367 million) arbitration deal between the businessman Bernard Tapie and a state-owned French bank.
Bernard Tapie who is a well-known supporter of the ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, won a 2008 settlement over the mishandled sale of Adidas in the 1990s. Lagarde was the France’s finance minister under Sarkozy administration when the deal was made. Critics said the settlement was in favor of the tycoon and it was too generous.
Investigation began before Lagarde was appointed as the head of the IMF -International Monetary Fund. The allegations surfaced after the deal that Ms Lagarde acted improperly when she created an independent panel to end the legal dispute between Tapie and the bank, over the sale of Tapie’s holding in the Adidas sportswear company.
Mr Tapie, once a left-wing activist and a minister, is not a stranger to legal problems. He was jailed in 1997 after being found guilty of fixing a football match involving the club that he owned at the time, Olympique Marseille. He switched sides after leaving the prison to back Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election.
Three French magistrates are investigating the allegations to see if Mrs. Lagarde acted illegally in approving the settlement. Her laywer, Yves Repiquet, says Lagarde who repeatedly denied the allegations, has nothing to hide and she welcomed Wednesday’s search as another step in proving her innocence.
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