Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, has been ordered to face trial by a Paris court tasked with hearing cases of ministerial misconduct, French media reported Thursday.
The long-simmering case stems from a 2008 judgment that awarded more than $400 million to French business magnate Bernard Tapie over a disputed business transaction. Investigators suspected Tapie of using his political support of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to win a favorable outcome in the case. Lagarde was then serving as Sarkozy's finance minister.
Lagarde has been managing director of the IMF since 2011, when she replaced the disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. She will stand trial for alleged negligence in the matter, reported French investigative outlet Mediapart and the iTele TV channel, even though in September, the top French prosecutor recommended the investigation into her role be dropped. Yves Repiquet, Lagarde's lawyer, called the court's decision "incomprehensible" and advised his client to appeal, Reuters reported.
Tapie won the multimillion-dollar judgment in an arbitration with major French bank Crédit Lyonnais. Tapie had accused the bank of breaching its fiduciary duty when it bought his majority stake in sports apparel company Adidas, which the bank later sold at a higher price.