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IMF's Christine Lagarde Found Guilty Of Negligence Over 2008 Dispute

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde arrives at a special court in Paris on Dec. 12.
Thibault Camus

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

A French court found Christine Lagarde, the current head of the International Monetary Fund, guilty of negligence for improperly overseeing a 2008 case when she was France's finance minister. Later Monday, the IMF's executive board expressed its " full confidence" in Lagarde.

The Court of Justice of the Republic, which oversees cases related to alleged misconduct by government officials, did not sentence Lagarde to any prison time, The New York Times reported.

Lagarde, who was part of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy's administration at the time, was accused of succumbing to political pressure in her handling of the case, as The Two-Way has reported:

"The case involved businessman and Sarkozy supporter Bernard Tapie and the sale of his stake in Adidas. Tapie claimed that the partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais 'had defrauded him by deliberately undervaluing the company.'

"Lagarde, then the finance minister, referred the matter to an arbitration panel, which decided in Tapie's favor, awarding him $527 million [more than 400 million euros]."

Lagarde maintained her innocence, saying she might have been unknowingly negligent but that she did her job as well as she could at the time, as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has reported.

Lagarde has led the International Monetary Fund since 2011. If you'd like to know more about what the IMF does, NPR's Planet Money has more here.

In supporting Lagarde, the IMF board cited her "outstanding leadership" and said it has "full confidence in [her] ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties."

But The New York Times reports that Lagarde's conviction could destabilize the IMF, "as it faces a host of thorny issues, including questions over its participation in a multibillion-dollar bailout for Greece and uncertainty about the United States' role in the organization once Donald J. Trump becomes president in January."

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Rebecca Hersher is a reporter on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research. Since coming to NPR in 2011, she has covered the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, embedded with the Afghan army after the American combat mission ended, and reported on floods and hurricanes in the U.S. She's also reported on research about puppies. Before her work on the Science Desk, she was a producer for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered in Los Angeles.
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