Court finds IMF chief Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence

Judges did not hand down a sentence for Mrs Lagarde

Court finds IMF chief Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde waits at a special court, Monday, Dec.12, 2016. Picture by Francois Mori AP/Press Association Images

A special court in France has found International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde guilty of criminal negligence.

Judges did not hand down a sentence for Lagarde for failing to challenge a €400m state arbitration payout to a business tycoon in 2008 when she was French finance minister.

The IMF board is expected to meet later on Monday to discuss the implications of the verdict.

Spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement: "The executive board has met on previous occasions to consider developments related to the legal proceedings in France.

"It is expected that the board will meet again shortly to consider the most recent developments."

Lagarde was found to be at fault over her decision to allow a private arbitration panel to resolve a dispute over the sale of the Adidas sports brand to Credit Lyonnais bank, rather than the courts, and then failing to challenge the payout.

The 60-year-old, who was finance minister between 2007 and 2011, was not in court in Paris to hear the verdict.

She was tried by the Court of Justice of the Republic, a tribunal staffed by judges and members of parliament that hears cases against French ministers of wrongdoing in office.

Martine Ract Madoux, the main judge in the case, said: "The context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself in should be taken into account."

The judge cited her good reputation and international standing as reasons why the court did not hand down a punishment.

She could have faced up to a year in prison.

Lawyers for Lagarde said after the ruling that would look to appeal the decision.