Ah, the perils of European power politics.
A day after France revealed its new government, the person who so eagerly stepped in after DSK's infamous and choreographed fall from grace and the IMF presidency (not to mention his derailed French presidential ambitions, greenlighting Hollande as what would become the worst French president ever), Christine Lagarde is about to be DSKed herself after "someone" clearly has set their sights on the former French finance minister.
Several hours ago the news hit that a French court has put Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, under a formal probe for negligence in a corruption investigation dating back to her days as finance minister. To be sure, this development is hardly a shock: recall that it was over a year ago when "IMF's Lagarde Flat Raided Over French 'Payout' Probe" with her ascent to the head of the IMF also riddled with numerous allegations of impropriety involving the Tapie matter. However, until now, such outside interventions were below the radar, and certainly never escalated to anything formal or official. Alas, it now appears that Madame's time has come, even if Lagarde hasn't grasped it just yet.
Ms. Lagarde confirmed the decision in a statement but said it was "without basis," adding she would challenge it with a higher court. She said she was heading back to Washington Wednesday and would brief the IMF board about the latest development.
The investigation is part of a complex, drawn-out probe into the alleged misuse of state funds. The case stems from a decision in the 2008 to use arbitration to settle a dispute with business tycoon Bernard Tapie. The arbitration panel awarded €420 million to Mr. Tapie.
"The magistrates of the court of justice of the Republic have decided to place me under formal investigation," Ms. Lagarde said in statement. "After three years of procedure, the sole surviving allegation is that through inadvertence or inattention I may have failed to intervene to block the arbitration that brought to an end the longstanding Tapie litigation," she added.
IMF issues statement after Managing Director Christine Lagarde put under formal investigation for her role in an arbitration case during her time as French finance minister.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice: “She is now on her way back to Washington and will, of course, brief the board as soon as possible. Until then, we have no further comment”
Regardless of the spin, at this point it's all over for the first female president of the IMF, whose departure has come with the same facility as her ascent.
The only question is who and why was angered by her policies over the past three years, and who will be her replacement. And most importantly, is the imminent shift at the top of the IMF indicative of what the CFR pitched yesterday when it proposed that the time has come for Bernanke's money paradrop. After all, one would need an even more obedient puppet at the head of the monetary fund if such an idiotic plan is to even be able to take off the ground, so to speak.
As for Lagarde, we are confident she and Angelo Mozillo will have enough fake tanning tips to exchange during their long and worry-free retirement.
And with that, Bill was finally Killed.