Home of Christine Lagarde, IMF chief, most recent raid over the Tapie Affair

Christine Lagarde, Director of the IMF. Photo: Flickr.com/World Economic Forum

Christine Lagarde, Director of the IMF.
Photo: Flickr.com/World Economic Forum

The house of Christine Lagarde, current head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and former Minister of Economy and Finance, was raided by French police on March 20. The raid on her Parisian home occurred as part of an ongoing investigation into the sale of Adidas sports equipment to the French bank, Crédit Lyonnais, known as the “Tapie Affair.”

Lagarde is implicated in the investigation as having wrongfully sent Bernard Tapie’s lawsuit into a private arbitration tribunal. The 2008 decision to award Tapie over 285 million euros (with interest) in compensation for what Tapie considered Crédit Lyonnais’ fraudulent re-selling of Adidas came as a shock to French observers.

The Parti socialiste are spearheading accusations of fraud and embezzlement, and of the “misuse of social power and concealment of the crime to the detriment of achieving consortium.” If guilty at trial, these charges could result in a prison sentence of up to ten years and a 150,000 euro fine.

The consortium alleged that Lagarde allowed herself to be involved “personally” in the tribunal process by providing Tapie a “favor” in return for his support of former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Lagarde moved to defend herself by reiterating that the decision made to go into arbitration was “the best solution at the time” in an effort to put an end to expensive court proceedings.

This week the investigation dragged on after raids on the homes of Bernard Tapie, Stéphane Richard, and Claude Guéant. Guéant, a former Secretary General at the Elysée, claims that the arbitration order was made by the Ministry of Finance rather than the Elysée.

At the beginning of this year, the three judges that sat on the tribunal were also investigated and had their homes raided by police. The three included lawyer Jean-Denis Bredin, retired judge Pierre Estoup, and former president of the Constitutional Council Pierre Mazeaud.

Maseaud has publicly stepped out to say that he finds the raid “deeply offensive.” He denies speaking to Nicolas Sarkozy or Christine Lagarde at the time, and adds that he saw Sarkozy only once, and Lagarde never.

Upon the search of Lagarde’s home, her lawyer Yves Repiquet insisted that Lagarde has “nothing to hide,” and that “these searches are the manifestation of the truth, that contribute to my client’s exemption from criminal responsibility.”

Meanwhile, Bernard Tapie has announced that he will be publishing a book about the evolution of his case from beginning to end.

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  1. […] homes of many central figures have been raided by the police, including, since September 2012, searches at the homes of Bernard Tapie, Stéphane Richard (former […]

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