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Corruption

IMF's Lagarde put under formal investigation for negligence

French magistrates have placed IMF chief Christine Lagarde under formal investigation. They said they'd look into her alleged role in a political fraud case reaching back to her time as Finance Minister.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told AFP news agency Wednesday she'd been put under formal investigation. Her announcement came shortly after she had been grilled for a fourth time by magistrates about her role in a long-running political fraud case. The probe hinges on an alleged compensation payment.

The magistrate's decision indicates they've found signs of wrongdoing, but it does not necessarily mean Lagarde will face a full blown trial.

The case relates to her handling of a 400-million-euro ($527-million) state compensation payout to disgraced French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008 when she was French Finance Minister.

Ghosts of the past haunt

The payout was connected to a dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the 1993 sale of his stake in sports equipment group Adidas.

Lagarde had referred the dispute to a three-member arbitration panel that ruled in favor of Tapie, who is suspected of receiving favorable treatment in return for supporting ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 election.

Lagarde told AFP she would appeal Wednesday's decision and would not resign her position as IMF chief over the investigation.

hg/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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