Arbitration award to French tycoon was 'scandalous', Lagarde trial told


A former top French civil servant told the judges in the trial of IMF boss Christine Lagarde how he had tried to meet the then-economy minister to stop her from agreeing to an arbitration process that eventually cost French taxpayers 403 million euros. Ex-Treasury official Bruno Bézard said not only was holding the arbitration in the first place a blunder, it had been a mistake not to have appealed against its 2008 ruling in favour of tycoon Bernard Tapie. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan says it was a tough day in court for Lagarde, who denies negligence in signing off on the arbitration process while a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's government.

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It was not a particularly pleasant day for Christine Lagarde on the third day of her trial on Wednesday, December 14th, before the Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) in Paris. Lagarde, currently managing director of the International Monetary Fund, had to listen to a string of witnesses giving evidence about her actions as French economy minister in 2007 and 2008 when she approved an arbitration process that awarded 403 million euros of taxpayers' money, including 45 million euros in personal damages to tycoon Bernard Tapie. The IMF boss, who sat taking notes throughout the evidence, is accused of “negligence” in her decision to sign off on the process, a charge she denies.