IMF chief to appeal French court’s trial decision

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, says she will appeal a decision by a French court ordering her to stand trial over her role in a controversial payout of state funds to a French businessman during her tenure as finance minister.

Lagarde has denied any wrongdoing at the time and insists her lawyers will file an appeal.

In a statement Thursday, Lagarde said “she acted in the best interest of the French state and in full compliance with the law,”  adding that she believes there is “no basis for any charge against her.”

The complaint, originally filed by France’s socialist lawmakers, accuses Lagarde of abusing her authority in 2007 by allowing a private arbitration panel to settle a long-running dispute between French tycoon Bernard Tapie and a state-owned bank. In 2008, the panel awarded more than $400 million in taxpayer money to Tapie, a friend of Lagarde’s then-boss, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The legal dispute began when Tapie accused then-state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais of mishandling the 1993 sale of his stake in sports clothing maker Adidas.