The IMF has backed its chief Christine Lagarde after French court delivers a guilty verdict in negligence trial

Courtney Goldsmith
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Earlier today, a French court found Lagarde guilty of negligence but didn't punish her (Source: Getty)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed managing director Christine Lagarde after French judges convicted her of negligence but imposed no punishment.

The IMF's executive board said in a statement today it "reaffirms its full confidence in the managing director's ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties".

Lagarde was found guilty of a state payout made while she served as France's finance minister in 2008. The appeals court ruled in July she would have to participate in a trial.

The French government, which controls about four per cent of the IMF board's voting power, had also backed Lagarde.

In Monday's ruling, the judges did not find negligence in Lagarde's decision to seek an out-of-court settlement with tycoon Bernard Tapie. But they said her failure to contest the award to him of about €400m (£336m) was negligent, and led to a misuse of public funds, according to Reuters.

Martine Ract Madoux, the main judge on the case, said the context of the global financial crisis at the time had to be taken into account and cited Lagarde's good international reputation as reasons why she was not punished by the court.

Lagarde's charge could have carried a sentence of up to a year in prison.

Lagarde's lawyer said immediately after the ruling he would look into appealing the decision.

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