IMF board still confident in Lagarde after French hearing

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The board of the International Monetary Fund retains full confidence in Fund chief Christine Lagarde after she was questioned in a French corruption case, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.

"The executive board has been briefed on that matter, including this year, and continues to express its confidence in the managing director's ability to effectively carry out her duties," said spokesman Gerry Rice.

Lagarde was questioned on 31 January by French investigators in a special court for cases involving ministers for her role in a 400 million euro (S$690 million) state payout made to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Lagarde was France's economy minister at the time the payout was being decided.

Five people have been indicted in the case, including a top aide to Lagarde at the time, and the court already last year interviewed her as a witness.

The payout was connected to a dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over his 1993 sale of sportswear group Adidas.