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April 18, 2021

IMF’s Lagarde not charged in embezzlement investigation

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has not been charged after two days of questioning by French judges over alleged complicity in the embezzlement of state funds, BBC informs. But she has not been completely cleared in the investigation over her authorisation of a controversial out-of-court settlement for the maverick French businessman Bernard Tapie when she was finance minister under Nicolas Sarkozy. Instead, Lagarde has been placed under the status of “supervised witness”. In French legal terms, this is less serious than being placed under formal investigation. It means that in any future hearings she will have to answer questions as a witness with her lawyer. She could technically still be charged later if judges change their minds. Emerging from two 12-hour days of questioning in Paris, Lagarde said it was “no surprise” to her that she had not been charged “because I always acted in the interest of the state and according to the law”. She said she would be returning to Washington to resume her IMF duties. The case dates back to 2008, when Lagarde, as Sarkozy’s finance minister, ordered private arbitration in a long-running business dispute between Tapie and the French state.

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