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Lagarde questioned by Paris court over payout to French businessman

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Lagarde questioned by Paris court over payout to French businessman

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has arrived at a court in Paris to be grilled over her role in a legal battle between the state and high-profile French businessman Bernard Tapie.

As French finance minister in 2007, under Nicolas Sarkozy, she decided to use arbitration to settle the dispute. It resulted in Tapie being awarded just over 400 million euros, including interest.

The case centres on a stake in sports company Adidas, which the businessman sold to Credit Lyonnais.

Tapie, a Sarkozy supporter, claimed the bank defrauded him after it later sold the stake for a much higher sum.

Lagarde, who has denied any wrongdoing, risks being placed under formal investigation.

“Any indictment would undermine the role of Christine Lagarde as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund,” said euronews reporter Giovanni Magi, in Paris.

“It would be further trauma for the institution, two years after the scandal of Dominique Strauss Khan.”