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French authorities are searching the home of IMF Chief Christine Largarde over a probe into a million-dollar payout to a supporter of ex-President Sarkozy. Lagarde has been under investigation since 2011, but denies any wrongdoing.
Lagarde’s lawyer told to Reuters that the search would exonerate her client of all criminal responsibility in connection with the Tapie affair.
"This search will help uncover the truth, which will contribute to exonerating my client from any criminal wrongdoing," Lagarde's lawyer, Yves Repiquet, told Reuters.
Police are investigating allegations that Lagarde acted illegally as finance minister in 2008 when she approved a payout of 285 million euro ($367 million) to business mogul Bernard Tapie.
The Court of Justice of the Republic ordered a probe into the case under the suspicion that Lagarde had committed an abuse of power by releasing the funds to Tapie. The then socialist opposition alleged that Nicolas Sarkozy’s government was rewarding the businessman Tapie for his support during the 2007 elections.
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International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attends a session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (WEF) on January 26, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos.(AFP Photo / Johannes Eisele)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued Argentina with a 'declaration of censure' for providing inaccurate inflation and GDP data and has given it until September 29th to amend the problems or will impose sanctions.
The IMF Friday called on Argentina to fix its statistics “without further delay”
“The fund has issued a declaration of censure against Argentina in connection with its breach of obligation to the fund,” The IMF said in a statement.
The IMF said it would review Argentina’s progress in November and warned that if the problems are not sorted then it could impose sanctions on the country. This would bar one of South America’s biggest economies from voting on IMF policies and accessing financing.
Relations between the South American country and the IMF have been steadily deteriorating since Argentina’s 2001-2002 debt crisis, which many in Buenos Aires blame on IMF policies.
Argentina’s Economy Ministry slammed the IMF for unfair treatment and accused them of double standards.
The Friday declaration was “not only a new IMF error but a clear example of unequal treatment and the double standards with which this organization treats certain members. This is the same fund that showed itself to be complacent about the inexact data and failed policies that led to the global financial crisis,” the statement said.
The ministry pointed out the IMF hailed Argentinian economic policies of the 1990’s as a success, the same policies that resulted in Argentina’s economic meltdown and debt default. The ministry also asked for an extraordinary meeting of the IMF board to discuss the lender’s decisions and policy.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF Managing Director, warned Argentina in September last year that it could be penalized unless it sorted out its data problems. Previous IMF chiefs, including Dominque Strauss-Khan and Rodrigo Rato, unsuccessfully tried to mend ties with Argentina, while other officials have avoided commenting on the country.
Economic analysts have accused the government in Buenos Aires of underreporting inflation since 2007 in order to reduce payments on inflation indexed debt and for political gain.
Inflation in Argentina is estimated by private economists to be at 25% a year and rising but the government reported it at 11% or less for last year, according to the Financial Times.
“This is a very serious step by the IMF, the situation in Argentina is deteriorating very quickly…and there is no sign that the government has any interest or willingness to even try to address some of the basic concerns of the fund,” Biorden Roett, director of Western Hemisphere Studies at John Hopkins’ Paul H Bitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington told Reuters.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its forecast for UK growth for both this year and the next, blowing hopes for a quick recovery to the country’s ailing economy.
The IMF said Britain would grow only by 1 percent this year which is lower than its October forecast of 1.1 percent and also the official government forecast of 1.2 percent.
Moreover, the IMF said the country would grow by 1.9 percent next year, a 0.3 percentage point cut compared with October.
The IMF figures are another setback for British Chancellor George Osborne; whose policies have put the country’s privileged AAA credit status under significant pressure.
The recent figures underlined the country’s sluggish recovery just days ahead of the official growth figures for 2012.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is expected to reveal that the economy contracted by between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent in the three months to December, causing the economy for the year as a whole to shrink by 0.1 percent.