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IMF’s Lagarde faces questions from French officials

Christine Lagarde is facing scrutiny over her handling of a scandal when she was France’s finance minister.

Jim Bourg/Reuters

Christine Lagarde is facing scrutiny over her handling of a scandal when she was France’s finance minister.

PARIS — A French court has ordered Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, to appear at a hearing next month connected to an investigation of her handling of a financial scandal when she was the French finance minister.

On Thursday, Lagarde’s lawyer confirmed the court summons, which was first reported late Wednesday by the news website Mediapart.

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The investigation, which has included a police raid of Lagarde’s Paris apartment last month, concerns her decision in 2007 to refer to an arbitration panel a decades-old dispute between a wealthy friend of France’s president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais. The panel ultimately brokered a settlement that awarded the Sarkozy friend, Bernard Tapie, the flamboyant former owner of the Olympique Marseille soccer team, about $580 million, including interest.

The court’s summons of Lagarde could lead to the opening of a formal investigation of her role in the affair. But in France, being placed under formal investigation does not necessarily lead to charges and does not imply a presumption of guilt.

Lagarde has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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