France Orders Investigation of New IMF Chief

Christine Lagarde is accused of abuse of power during her tenure as finance minister

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This is not a good year for French IMF leaders. On Thursday a French court ordered a probe into Christine Lagarde's controversial role in an arbitration deal involving Bernard Tapie, a business tycoon and former left-wing politician. Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF who took over for Dominique Strauss-Kahn last month following his sexual assault charges, had been dogged, but not overwhelmed, by questions about her alleged abuse of power during her tenure as France's finance minister. Lagarde stands accused of influencing a bank to enter an arbitration deal with Tapie which won him $400 million. "Critics have said the case shouldn't have gone to a private arbitration authority because it involved a state-owned bank, Credit Lyonnais, and that Lagarde should have questioned the independence of one of the arbitration panel's judges," reports The Associated Press. Lagarde's lawyer said she's not concerned about the probe. "We'll get to the bottom of things. There will no longer be the least doubt," he said. According to the AP, the investigation will likely take months to complete.

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