IMF head digs in as trial opens
THE head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has pledged to fight "allegation by allegation” charges of negligence in a trial in Paris over her role in a huge payout by France to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Ms Lagarde was finance minister in the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy when she approved a settlement out of court to end a long-running dispute between Mr Tapie and an arm of the government.
Mr Tapie was a supporter of President Sarkozy.
Her decision to accept an extremely rare private arbitration cost French taxpayers $568 million paid to Mr Tapie.
Ms Lagarde has been charged with negligence leading to misuse of public funds.
She risks a year in jail and a fine of $21,300 if convicted.
Her French predecessor, Dominique Strauss Kahn, quit as IMF head over a sex assault scandal. A sentence could cost her the job too.