She was found guilty, but she does not have to pay a fine. And Christine Lagarde will probably remain IMF chief.
Christine Lagarde with "halo" Photo: reuters
As always when a woman is in the forefront of political power, the main issue seems to be her outward appearance. When Christine Lagarde stood before a special court for ministerial malfeasance in Paris last week, one hears nothing but compliments about her appearance, even when she was visibly embarrassed in response to the judges’ pressing questions about her levity in the Tapie dossier.
For this levity, Christine Lagarde has now been found guilty, but she does not have to pay a fine. Nor is she likely to have to vacate her post as head of the International Monetary Fund (as successor to her compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn).
Christine Lagarde was born in Paris in 1956 and grew up bilingual as the daughter of an English professor between Le Havre and Oxford. A scholarship took her to the USA for the first time. After studying law in Paris, she rose to the top as a business lawyer in the U.S. law firm Baker & McKenzie. Even before her appointment as economics minister in 2007, Forbes magazine ranked her among the thirty most influential women in the world. As head of the IMF, she made it into the top ten.
In connection with her appearance, it is repeatedly recalled that Lagarde was runner-up in synchronized swimming in her youth. In this discipline, grace and coordination count, but above all you don’t swim against the current. For example, when she was unexpectedly and politically completely inexperienced brought into the government as economy minister by President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, she carried out his orders without protest. Even if these orders – such as partial nationalizations or the massive national debt – ran counter to her liberal principles.
"Utilise-moi" (Use me) was written as a thank-you for her appointment in a personal message to her new boss Nicolas Sarkozy that later became public. The latter apparently did not ask twice when it came to helping his friend Bernard Tapie out of a jam.