This is a rare occurrence. The Court of justice of the Republic met for the fifth time in its history, Monday, 12 December, to try the former minister of Economy, Christine Lagarde, accused of being “negligence of a person agent of the public authority” in the case Tapie. She could face up to a year in prison and 15,000 euros fine. If you do not understand anything in this matter, this article is for you.
It is that, already, Christine Lagarde ?
a Lawyer with the prestigious american law firm Baker & McKenzie, Christine Lagarde made her entrance on the stage in French politics in 2005. Jacques Chirac, named minister delegated to the foreign Trade. But it is especially under Nicolas Sarkozy the French are his knowledge : after a brief passage at the ministry of Agriculture (one month in 2007), she became the minister of Economy and Finance (2007 to 2011). After the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was embroiled in the case of the Sofitel, she became the first woman to head the international monetary Fund (IMF). A prestigious position which makes it the French the most influential in the world in 2014, according to Vanity Fair.
That reproach him for it ?
Lagarde is accused of “negligence of any person of the public authority”, an offence they may have committed in the exercise of his functions as minister of Economics. He was accused of two things : to have accepted, in the fall of 2007, to have recourse to arbitration to settle the dispute between Bernard Tapie and the former state-owned bank Credit lyonnais, the famous case Tapie – and have refused to file a recourse when the arbitral tribunal has decided to grant € 404 million to the businessman. To be clear, the prosecutor accuses him of having left Bernard Tapie pick the pockets of the State without reacting to it.
The case Tapie, you can remind me what it is ?
This is where it gets tough. It all began in 1992. Boss of Adidas, Bernard Tapie has to sell his business to become a minister. It assigns this transaction to his bank, the Credit lyonnais, who gets 315 million in 1993. But there is a wolf : the bank figure among the buyers and it sells the company for $ 700 million. A juicy capital gain which will cause the wrath of Bernard Tapie.
This is the beginning of a long judicial battle, in which the French State will result. The public bank went bankrupt in the mid-1990s. To liquidate the liabilities of the Credit lyonnais, the State creates the Consortium of realization (CDR). It is against this structure that Bernard Tapie returns, to claim his share of the gain. After several twists and turns, he gets satisfaction in 2005 : the court of appeal grants of € 135 million.
But then, why this story is still not resolved ?
Because the COR for cassation. And that the Court has decided, in 2006, to overturn the judgment of the court of appeals : “no fault,” of the Credit lyonnais, consider the judges. Bernard Tapie does not admit defeat : it makes feet and hands to get a arbitration. The new Economy minister, Christine Lagarde, transfers, and assigns the case to an arbitral tribunal, despite the contrary opinion of the Agency of the interests of the State.
Used in the world of business, this court of private disputes, and to compromise without justice. Three arbitrators shall be appointed by the two parties : Pierre Estoup, Pierre Mazeaud and Jean-Denis Bredin. Their decision – cancelled in June 2016 – giving 404 million euros to the business man is the beginning of a new “affair Tapie”.
Why Christine Lagarde isn’t judged by a regular court ?
The faults which are alleged to Christine Lagarde have been committed in the exercise of its functions. It is the political decision of a minister that is in question, not the personal choice to hide his income in Switzerland, as this is the case, for example, to Jérôme Cahuzac, the former Budget minister. To judge these facts a few individuals, the Constitution provides for a special court : the High Court of Justice, which was renamed the Court of justice of the Republic in 1993.
How does the Court of justice of the Republic ?
You will have understood, the Court of justice of the Republic is not a regular court. For the enter, it is necessary to pass by a commission of the requests, composed of magistrates, who filter the complaints and requests of the public prosecutor. The Court is composed of three professional judges – including the president – and of the twelve members of parliament elected by the Senate and the national Assembly. It takes its decisions by an absolute majority, by secret ballot.
Since its creation, there have been only four minutes – five if you count the two hearings of Michel Gillibert – in front of the RGC. The most resounding is that of contaminated blood in 1999, compared to Georgina Dufoix, Laurent Fabius, and Edmond Hervé. The first two were acquitted, the third is exempted from penalty. Two former ministers have been convicted by the RGC : three-year suspended prison sentence and 20,000 euro fine for Michel Gillibert (for embezzlement in 2004), a one-year suspended prison sentence for Charles Pasqua (for complicity and concealment of abuse of social goods in 2010).
How to get defends Christine Lagarde ?
In this case, Christine Lagarde,, faces up to a year in prison and 15,000 euros fine. But it is “very determined to defend themselves”, says his lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve. Since the beginning of the case, she assumes his decision to resort to arbitration. This dispute is “lasted for a very long time to generate attorneys ‘fees are very high and constitute a risk to the public finances”, she explained to the judges.
The former boss of Bercy also defends itself by charging his director of cabinet of the time, the current boss Orange. the “This folder was processed by Stéphane Richard, which failed to tell a number of things, provides Patrick Maisonneuve. in The ministers did not read all of the notes, and it is the very role of the cabinet to filter and make summary notes.” Christine Lagarde claims to have discovered some of the notes from the EPA, the Agency of the interests of the State, as opposed to arbitration, after the fact.
Is it the only one prosecuted in this case ?
No. But the other defendants do not have the honors of the Court of justice of the Republic. In fact, the case is divided into two panes : the ministerial, with Christine Lagarde ; and the criminal, with Bernard Tapie, his lawyer Maurice Lantourne, the arbitrator judge Pierre Estoup, and Stéphane Richard. the “All these gentlemen”, according to the words of Christine Lagarde, is under investigation for “organised fraud” and “misappropriation of public funds”. The former president of the Consortium of achievement, Jean-François Rocchi, is indicted for “misuse of powers social”.
In this pane, the statement is not complete. A “strange situation” to the ex-minister. the “Madame Lagarde will be returned to the RGC for gross negligence that allowed the misappropriation of public funds by a third party,” says Patrick Maisonneuve. in But the very existence of the misappropriation of public funds is not established. (…) It is necessary to wait until there’s a decision having the authority of res judicata on this issue.” The lawyer for Christine Lagarde will therefore request a stay of proceedings, the time that the investigation is complete.
I was too lazy to read everything… You can make me a summary ?
Lagarde is accused of “negligence of a person agent of the public authority”. It accuses him of having, when she was minister of Economy Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2011), decided to settle the old dispute of the Credit lyonnais between the State and Bernard Tapie by an arbitration procedure. A court private had then condemned the State to pay $ 404 million euros to a businessman, a conviction for which Christine Lagarde had not made a call. As it is a political decision made in the exercise of its functions, it is judged by a special tribunal, the Court of justice of the Republic.
in its defence, the current boss of the IMF believes that the arbitration could put a swift end to a long and costly process. It also charges his former chief of staff, Stéphane Richard, who would not have any say in this matter. This last, current CEO of Orange, is also a criminal prosecution, such as Bernard Tapie, his lawyer and one of the referees. Christine Lagarde risk up to one year in prison and 15,000 euros fine.
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