French police raid IMF chief Lagarde's Paris home
French police on Wednesday searched the Paris home of IMF chief Christine Lagarde in an ongoing inquiry into charges that businessman and former politician Bernard Tapie received favourable treatment in a dispute with the Crédit Lyonnais bank.
“Mme Lagarde has nothing to hide,” her lawyer, Yves Repiquet, said as the raid took place, pointing out that his client has not been questioned over the inquiry.
Police have already searched the homes of Tapie, current France Télécom boss Stéphane Richard, who used to work with Lagarde, and former interior minister Claude Guéant in the course of the investigation.
The legal case arises from Lagarde’s decision, when she was finance minister under then-president Nicolas Sarkozy, to appeal to private arbitration in a dispute between Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais over the sale of sportswear manufacturer Adidas.
The bank sold the company on his behalf for far more than the amount it paid eventually paid him in a procedure he claimed was fraudulent.
The arbitrator ordered the state-run consortium that managed the bank’s liabilities at the time to pay Tapie 285 million euros compensation, a sum that rose to 400 million euros with interest.
Tapie, who had been declared bankrupt in 1995 and served six months for corruption and subornation of witnesses in 1997, was also being pursued for tax fraud at the time.
Despite having been a minister in a previous left-wing government, Tapie supported Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election. According to Le Canard enchaîné weekly that was in exchange for a promise of help with his tax problems.