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.
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.