March 20 - A lawyer for IMF chief Christine Lagarde says French authorities searched her Paris apartment in an investigation into a 2008 arbitration payment to Bernard Tapie, a supporter of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, while she was Sarkozy's finance minister. Sarah Irwin reports.
French authorities search the Paris apartment of IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday. Officials are investigating Lagarde's involvement in the so-called "Tapie Affair" - a controversial 2008 arbitration payment to billionaire Bernard Tapie - a supporter of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Tapie had sued the government - after selling his stake in the sports company Adidas - to then state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais. He argued the bank defrauded him - after it sold his share of the company at a much higher price. The bank denied wrongdoing - but Lagarde - serving as Sarkozy's finance minister at the time - ended a court battle -- resulting in a 285 million euro - or $367 million dollar - payout to Tapie. Magistrates suspect Lagarde of complicity to misusing public funds - after she rejected advisers' objections to proceed with the arbitration. Lagarde has denied any wrongdoing - in the 2-year-old investigation.