Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was found guilty yesterday of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds during her time as France’s finance minister, a verdict that could force her out of her post, reported the New York Times.
Ms. Lagarde, who began her second five-year term at the IMF in February, faces a fine of up to 15,000 euros, or $15,700, and up to one year in jail.
The scandal has overshadowed her work at the fund, to which she was appointed in 2011, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as managing director when he was accused of having sexually assaulted a maid in a New York City hotel.
The move is likely to destabilise the IMF while it faces a host of thorny issues, including questions over its participation in a multibillion-dollar bailout for Greece and uncertainty about the United States’ role in the organisation once Donald J. Trump becomes president in January.
The IMF board had also been preparing for a possible conviction with people close to major shareholders, saying that in the absence of a prison term — and with continuing support from the French government — Ms Lagarde would probably be able to stay in her position.
The IMF said in a statement after the verdict that the board, which has met previously to consider the case, was expected to “meet again shortly to consider the most recent developments”.