On Wednesday, French authorities raided the home of International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, due to her possible payout to a wealthy supporter of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy when she was the French finance minister. The police are checking into whether or not she illegally approved millions of euros in arbitration payment to end an argument with Bernard Tapie, a supporter of Sarkozy.The court order to push forward with the investigation of the embezzlement of public funds began in August of 2011.
As former finance minister, Lagarde was the first woman to hold that position within the G8 group, and is the first female chief of the IMF. Her past governmental positions included Minster of Economic Affairs, Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Minister of Trade. Lagarde also has a background in law, and specialized in antitrust and labor cases. The aim of the IMF, is to surveying the economic policies of its members, assisting economically disadvantaged countries, and making loans to countries who are struggling with finances otherwise.
Ironically, this probe occurred the day after France’s budget minister left office over a tax fraud inquiry. Lagarde’s lawyer told Reuters, “This search will help uncover the truth, which will contribute to exonerating my client from any criminal wrongdoing.”
During the time of her search, an IMF official said that Lagarde was in Germany and not present in her Paris home. The IMF board also believes that despite the investigation, they are certain Lagarde will be able to continue on with her duties.
The results of this ongoing investigation places not only Lagarde’s reputation but also her position at IMF on the line. When current French president Francois Hollande won the election, one of his promises included looking into the close relationships that politicians often had with businessmen during Sarkozy’s presidency.