• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Orange chief faces fraud charges in Lagarde probe

AFP/The Local · 12 Jun 2013, 18:16

Published: 12 Jun 2013 18:16 GMT+02:00

Stéphane Richard, the head of telecoms company Orange and a former aide to IMF chief Christine Lagarde, was charged Wednesday with fraud in a corruption probe dating from her time as France's finance minister.

Reacting to the charges, he was described as being in "confident and combative" mood by close friends.

Richard was Lagarde's chief of staff when, in 2008, she sanctioned a state payout of €400 million euros to disgraced tycoon Bernard Tapie.

Richard had been taken in for questioning on Monday, along with Jean-François Rocchi, who headed a financial institution created to hold the non-performing assets owned by the Credit Lyonnais bank, the source said.

The International Monetary Fund chief was questioned for two days in May about the €400-million payout to Tapie, but she avoided charges and was instead named an "assisted witness".

The arbitration followed a dispute between the businessman and partly state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over his 1993 sale of sports group Adidas.

The panel upheld Tapie's claim that Credit Lyonnais had defrauded him by intentionally undervaluing Adidas at the time of the sale and that the state, as the bank's principal shareholder, should compensate him.

Story continues below…

Orange had said on Monday that Richard would continue to remain the company head.

Investigators have also been probing whether Tapie was favoured in return for having supported ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, Lagarde's then boss, in the 2007 presidential election.

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Good news from France: Unemployment rate falls again
Applicants talk to recruiters at a French jobs fair. Photo: AFP

Some much needed positive news for the French government

Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

Looking for petrol in France? Here's how to find it with the help of your smartphone.

Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Photo: L'essence

This interactive map should help you find petrol in France.

The French union in a 'fight to the death' with government
All photos: AFP

The hardline CGT trade union is gambling all on bringing the French government to its knees. Can it win?

French fuel crisis latest: 4,600 petrol stations run dry
Photo: AFP

Some 40 percent of petrol stations run dry in France.

France hit by fresh strikes as nuclear workers join protest
Photo: AFP

Trains, flights, nuclear power, fuel depots and oil refineries are all hit by a new round of strikes.

French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole
Photo: AFP

A "miracle" survival story from the Pyrenees.

How the fuel crisis is harming the French economy
Photos: AFP

Experts are saying the current fuel crisis will have "serious consequences" for French business. Here's how.

France to see 90,000 security staff on patrol at Euro 2016
Members of French riot police take part in a mock terrorist attack exercise at the Georges Pompidou stadium in Valence. Photo: AFP

France has vowed to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" at the Euro 2016 tournament.

List of French targets found in Adeslam's home
Photo: AFP

Areas of Paris, Marseille and Toulouse were on the list of possible targets for an attack.

Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
2,733
jobs available