IMF head Lagarde named 'assisted witness' in Tapie probe



Beijing: International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde on Friday is named as "assisted witness" in a probe into an alleged corruption relating to a controversial arbitration of the Tapie case after a two-day hearing at a French court in Paris.

As former French finance minister, Lagarde has been investigated since August 2011 for "complicity in forgery and embezzlement of public funds" in the Tapie case.

She was questioned over her role in the awarding of financial compensation by granting up to 400 million euros (515 million US dollars) to businessman Bernard Tapie in his dispute with Credit Lyonnais on the acquisition of Adidas in 2008.

Lagarde arrived at the Court of Justice of the Republic on Thursday morning to answer questions.

By two days' hearing, the French court placed Lagarde under the status of assisted witness instead of formal investigation, which means there is a possibility for her to be charged later.

On Friday evening, after Lagarde came out of the court, she told reporters that "I was able to provide information to demonstrate that I have always acted in the best interest of the state and in accordance with the law."

"My status of assisted witness confirms this," she said, "now it is the time to return to Washington to pursuit my mission as the managing director of the IMF and to report to my board."

The IMF board expressed confidence in its chief after Lagarde was called for questioning on Thursday. The IMF executive board is expecting in the coming days a briefing on Lagarde's legal situation after the French court made the decision to place her under assited witness.

ANI