IMF chief Christine Lagarde goes on trial in France on Monday over a massive state payout to a flamboyant tycoon when she was finance minister in a case that risks tarnishing her stellar career.
Lagarde denies the charges of negligence, arguing she was acting “in the state’s interest” in making the payment to Bernard Tapie, the former owner of sportswear giant Adidas and Olympique Marseille football club.
If found guilty, Lagarde could receive a one-year prison sentence and a 15,000 euro ($15,900) fine.
Whatever the outcome, the case risks damaging the image of 60-year-old Lagarde, a former corporate lawyer who progressed through the finance ministry to her current role as one of the world’s most powerful women.
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