A French court has ordered a formal judicial investigation into the contested role of IMF chief Christine Lagarde in settling a financial dispute while she was France's finance minister.
The Court of Justice of the Republic, which investigates wrongdoing by members of the government, ordered a formal investigation into allegations Lagarde used her influence in the affair, in which arbitrators awarded a 285-million-euro ($407 million) payoff to a businessman suing the state.
Lagarde has denied any wrongdoing and there is no suggestion that she personally profited from the affair.
A lawyer for Lagarde said the opening of an investigation would be "in no way incompatible" with her functions at the IMF.
Lagarde replaced Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund in early July when the Frenchman resigned to fight charges of sexual assault in New York.
compiled from agency reports