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IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, in inquiry into misuse of public funds


The International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde will be questioned by a magistrate in May over an arbitration payment made to a wealthy supporter of the former President Nicolas Sarkozy, her lawyer said.

Ms Lagarde’s lawyer, Yves Repiquet, confirmed a report by the news website Mediapart that the former Finance Minister was to be questioned in the case involving the businessman Bernard Tapie.

It is the first time Ms Lagarde has been called in for questioning in an investigation launched in 2011 which could become uncomfortable for her and the IMF if she is placed under formal investigation.

Ms Lagarde has denied she did anything wrong when she ended a long-running court battle between the state and Mr Tapie by agreeing to arbitration to settle the dispute.

But a court suspects her of complicity in misusing public funds when, as Finance Minister, she overruled objections from advisers to go ahead with the arbitration.

Ms Lagarde, who has been designated as a suspect despite never profiting personally from the affair, could be placed under formal investigation after the hearing, her lawyer said.