The International Monetary Fund chief pledged to fight ''allegation by allegation'' charges of negligence when she went on trial in Paris over her role in a huge payout by the French state to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008. AsSonia Legg reports, Christine Lagarde was France's finance minister when she approved an out-of-court settlement with Bernard Tapie to end a long-running dispute between the magnate and the French state.
She's standing trial over her role in a 400 million euro state payment to French businessman Bernard Tapie. IMF chief Christine Lagarde was France's finance minister at the time under President Nicolas Sarkozy. She approved an out-of-court settlement to end a dispute between the state and Tapie. But denies negligence leading to misuse of public funds. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LAWYER FOR DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE IMF CHRISTINE LAGARDE, PATRICK MAISONNEUVE, SAYING: "Christine Lagarde is being prosecuted for negligence which allowed the embezzlement of public money but this embezzlement -- yet to be proven -- is the subject of another legal case. And in that case, the people under investigation deny the existence of any embezzlement. So how can the court rule within a few days." Lagarde could face up to a year in jail and a fine of 15,000 euros. And some fear for the IMF's reputation if she's convicted. (SOUNDBITE ) (English) IG SENIOR ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "It makes their economic pronouncements a little less credible in some ways - certainly people may be less inclined to listen to them quite as close as they used to." Lagarde's predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit amid a sex scandal. A guilty verdict could plunge the IMF into another leadership crisis.