French Court Finds IMF Chief Guilty in 2008 Arbitration Case - NBC 6 South Florida
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French Court Finds IMF Chief Guilty in 2008 Arbitration Case

Christine Lagarde, who was France's finance minister at the time, was spared punishment and a criminal record

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    File image: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde speaks to the media outside the International Monetary Fund in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

    The International Monetary Fund's managing director was convicted Monday of negligence by a special French court for her role in a hugely contentious arbitration award to a businessman in 2008.

    But Christine Lagarde, who was France's finance minister at the time, was spared punishment and a criminal record.

    The Court of Justice of the Republic, made up of three judges and 12 parliamentarians, tries cases concerning ministers for alleged crimes while in office.

    Lagarde, not present for the verdict, maintained her innocence through the weeklong trial. The prosecutor had asked for an acquittal.

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    The case revolves around a 403 million-euro ($425 million) arbitration deal given to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008 over the botched sale of sportswear maker Adidas in the 1990s. The amount prompted indignation in France.

    Civil courts have since quashed the unusually generous award, declared the arbitration process and deal fraudulent and ordered Tapie to pay the money back.

    The Washington-based IMF said after Monday's verdict that its executive board would meet soon "to consider the most recent developments."