Bad Lawyers

Christine Lagarde Presented as French Finance Minister Despite Negligent Ruling
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Christine Lagarde

Summary: Even though lawyer Christine Lagarde was found negligent by a court, she was given no criminal record and given the title of French finance minister with full confidence.

Despite being convicted of “negligence,” Christine Lagarde was given full support to be the International Monetary Fund’s managing partner. Lagarde was convicted for giving a large payout to a business tycoon while serving as the French finance minister. The IMF board complimented Lagarde with their “wide respect and trust.”


The Court of Justice of the Republic in France opted not to punish Lagarde or give her a criminal record. She was facing a one-year term and over $15,000 in fines, a punishment which would have likely ruined her career.

Lagarde claims she is innocent, stating she is “not satisfied” with the verdict but will not appeal it. She explained, “There is a point in time when one has to just stop, turn the page and move on, and continue to work with those who have put their trust in me.”

The week-long trial was rough on Lagarde. The prosecutor asked for an acquittal because of a “very weak” case on top of advising against bringing it to court to begin with.

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Christine Lagarde, a former corporate lawyer, was accused of two counts of wrongdoing. The court of three professional magistrates, six MPs and six senators found her negligent for not appealing the arbitration panel’s ruling regarding the sale of the Adidas sports brand to Credit Lyonnais Bank by magnate Bernard Tapie. She allowed the complaint regarding the sale to be settled by a rarely-used private arbitration panel instead of in the courts. The court did not find any fault in Lagarde in launching the arbitration procedure.

Lagarde allowed a payment over €400 million to be given to Tapie, which was later found to be fraudulent. The court noted that her inaction gave him 45 million euros for emotional harm. She should have been shocked by the sentence awarded to Tapie.

It is suspected that she approved the deal as a way of buying off the tycoon with taxpayer’s money. Investigators believe there was an illicit agreement between Tapie and then president Nicolas Sarkozy. Tapie supported his election bid in 2007 in return for a promise that his damages claim would be paid.

Do you think she should have been eligible for the position if a court found her negligent even without a formal punishment? Tell us in the comments below.

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