By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, is facing trial on Monday over a pay-out made to controversial business tycoon, Mr Bernard Tapie, in 2008, while she was the French Finance Minister.
Though the IMF boss did not personally gain from the pay-out, but she has come under heavy criticisms for not stopping the payment.
If convicted, the 60-year-old, who has gained huge reputation in the financial world, could be jailed for a year and fined €15,000 and could also cost her the IMF job.
Mr Tapie had claimed Credit Lyonnais defrauded him when it sold Adidas on his behalf to Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 1993, same year his football club, Olympique Marseille, lifted the prestigious Champions League as the first French side to achieve the feat.
Because Credit Lyonnais was partly-owned by the state, Mr Tapie sought retribution, but the French government to dismiss his request.
However, when his associate, Mr Nicola Sarkozy, became the French President in 2007, Mr Tapie’s request was given a nod and he subsequently received the pay-out in 2008.
But investigators have alleged that the arbitration process was influenced by Mr Sarkozy, whose electoral campaign was reportedly supported by the business mogul.
This has reawakened the case, but Ms Lagarde is claiming her trial is politically motivated and she has maintained her innocence in the matter.
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