Lagarde’s Defence Calls for Acquittal

Paris, Defence lawyers for International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde called for her acquittal Friday in their closing arguments, before the court hands down a decision next week.

Lagarde, standing trial on negligence charges in connection with an arbitration ruling passed down by a three-person panel when she was French finance minister, has denied wrongdoing.

“These five days at hearing are bringing a five-year ordeal to an end,” Lagarde said in her final remarks Friday. She had appeared at the Court of Justice of the Republic, which investigates and prosecutes allegations of wrongdoing by ministers in the course of their duties.

In 2007, Lagarde gave the go-ahead for arbitration in the case of business mogul Bernard Tapie and a public consortium in charge of former state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais’ liabilities, dpa reported.

The three-person arbitration panel decided to award 403 million euros to Tapie, an award that critics said was too high. Some speculated that he got it because of his political connections, including to then president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose campaign was supported by Tapie.

In February 2015, the Court of Appeal of Paris overturned the arbitration award issued to Tapie because of connections between Tapie’s lawyers and one of the members of the arbitration panel.(

Source: Qatar News Agency