Lagarde ducks charges in France

AFP-JIJI

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde avoided immediate charges Friday but was named an “assisted witness” after French prosecutors grilled her for two days over a state payout made to a disgraced tycoon when she was finance minister.

Lagarde was questioned for a total of 24 hours by prosecutors working for a court that probes cases of ministerial misconduct, over her 2007 handling of a row that resulted in €400 million ($515 million) being paid to controversial business figure Bernard Tapie.

While Lagarde avoided being placed under formal investigation, the closest equivalent in French law to being charged, her “assisted witness” status means she could still face further questions — and possibly charges — at a later stage.