IMF boss Lagarde questioned in French corruption probe that also involved Orange CEO

PARIS – International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is being questioned by Paris magistrates investigating a corruption case that also involves the chief executive of French telecoms group Orange.

Lagarde and Orange CEO Stephane Richard arrived Wednesday at the central Paris courthouse. Lagarde faces questioning over her role, while France’s finance minister, in a 400 million-euro ($531 million) payment to a controversial businessman. Richard was then her chief of staff.

The payment in question was made to Bernard Tapie as part of an arbitration of a dispute with state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the botched sale of sportswear company Adidas, which had been majority-owned by Tapie. Critics have said the deal was too generous, and was symptomatic of the cozy relationship between money and power in France.

Richard and Lagarde deny wrongdoing.