Make us your home page
Instagram

International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde convicted of negligence

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrives at the special Paris court on Dec. 12.

Associated Press

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrives at the special Paris court on Dec. 12.

The International Monetary Fund's managing director was convicted Monday of negligence by a special French court for her role in a contentious and generous arbitration award in 2008 to a politically connected tycoon.

But Christine Lagarde, who was France's finance minister at the time, was spared jail time and a criminal record. She had risked a year of imprisonment and a fine.

The guilty verdict, even without punishment, tarnishes Lagarde's impressive career as one of the most powerful women in world finance. It raised immediate doubts about whether the IMF's first female managing director will be able to continue in that job she has held since 2011.

The Washington-based IMF said after Monday's verdict that its executive board would meet soon "to consider the most recent developments."

The case revolves around a 403 million euro ($425 million) arbitration deal given to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008 over the botched sale of sportswear maker Adidas in the 1990s. The amount prompted indignation in France.

Civil courts have since quashed the unusually generous award, declared the arbitration process and deal fraudulent and ordered Tapie to pay the money back.

In deciding not to sentence Lagarde, the court noted that the award to Tapie has since been annulled, sparing damage to the public purse. It also noted by way of explaining the lack of a sentence that Lagarde was caught up at the time in the storm of financial crisis that engulfed the global economy.

The court also said that Lagarde's "personality and national and international reputation" counted in her favor.

The Court of Justice of the Republic, made up of three judges and 12 parliamentarians, tries cases concerning ministers for alleged crimes while in office.

Lagarde, not present for the verdict, maintained her innocence through the weeklong trial. The prosecutor had asked for an acquittal in the case, which began in 2011.

Christopher Baker, one of Lagarde's lawyers, wouldn't speculate on any potential effect of the verdict on Lagarde's high-flying career. A lawyer herself, she served as French finance minister from 2007 to 2011, when she took her job as head of the IMF.

"There is no sentence, which means there's no record of this," he told the Associated Press. "The result of this last five years is nothing, which leaves us in kind of a complicated and strange situation."

The special court acquitted Lagarde of negligence in her original decision to put the Tapie case to arbitration. But it found her guilty in a subsequent decision not to contest the amount of the arbitration award.

International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde convicted of negligence 12/19/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2016 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]