France's highest appeals court has ruled that International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde must stand trial for her role in a $400 millionstate payout in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie. Kate King reports.
As head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde is used to being in the spotlight but this time - she'd rather not be. France's highest appeals court has orderd Lagarde to stand trial for her role in a 400 million dollar state payout to this man, businessman Bernard Tapie. The court rejecting her appeal against a lower court ruling last December. Lagarde is accused of negligence during her time as French Finance minister in 2008 That's when she signed off on a decision to allow a rare out-of-court arbitration in a dispute between Tapie, who was a supporter of conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and the state. The arbitration judges later ruled in Tapie's favour and ordered the state payout to him, but appeals courts have since thrown out that settlement decision. The IMF says it has full confidence in its leader's capacity to continue carrying out her duties, others aren't so sure. (SOUNDBITE) IG SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP SAYING: "I think it will be an understandably large distraction, really. I think the head of the IMF would need to focus on the full problems affecting the global economy so there'd be questions over is she still the right person for that role. But then again that comes with it the disruption of finding someone else. I think the best thing for her would be to maybe step back from the role for the time being, and try and smooth over that problem in France and then move back into the role. " Lagarde denies any wrongdoing, saying she acted in the interest of the state and with respect for the law. If convicted she faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of around 16 thousand dollars.