In sum Ms. Lagarde was/is the subject of a conspiracy:
‘She did not go to Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the school that churns out France’s political elite. Colleagues sometimes referred to her as an “Américaine”, due to her perfect English and understanding of “Les Anglo-Saxons”.’
And she is ;
‘Ms Lagarde remains popular with the staff and major shareholders at the IMF, where she was reappointed to a second five-year term this year. Despite this week’s ruling — and whatever mark it leaves — the skills that played such a big part in the IMF chief’s ascent have not yet been obscured by her trial.’
The Economist frames its report on the Lagarde conviction with this headline:
Grace under pressure : A court in France finds Christine Lagarde guilty of negligence
What should the reader make of Ms. Lagarde’s defense? If that is what one could call it:
That was, at least, the picture painted by witnesses during a week long trial after which came Monday’s verdict that found Ms Lagarde guilty of negligence for signing off on a fraudulent €403m state payout to the businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008. Ms Lagarde told the court how she did not take charge of the sensitive affair, instead leaving it to one or two advisers, particularly her powerful chief of staff Stéphane Richard. “I am a novice in politics,” she said.
She did not read memos from other parts of government with differing viewpoints to Mr Richard, explaining that there was much on her plate already. “I received between 8,000 to 9,000 notes per year,” she pleaded.
Ms Lagarde also said she was kept unaware of an important meeting about the case at the Elysée attended by Mr Richard and Mr Tapie. Both men face another trial later this year. Both deny wrongdoing.
Place the blame where it resides: ‘her powerful chief of staff Stéphane Richard.’ ? not to forget this wan defense “I am a novice in politics,” i.e. I am a naif! How can this ludicrous assertion pass as somehow believable? This statement by ‘The’ most powerful economic actor in the world!
One marvels at such a convoluted apologetic, for a double standard for the enforcement of law and the fact that Justice is won by the exercise of political opportunism. Never fear, The Financial Times comes through with this ringing endorsement for Ms. Lagarde.
Headline: The IMF has good reason to stick with Christine Lagarde
Sub-headline: Guilty verdict is a stain on her record but need not cost her the top job