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Geopolitics

Ethics Probe Could Spell Trouble For French IMF Candidate Christine Lagarde

Le Monde reports on new documents that may prove costly for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. The documents suggest Lagarde may have known that members of an arbitration panel involved in state dispute with a French tycoon were biased.

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde may face a new round of ethics woes that could risk undermining her candidacy to become the next chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A special court that tries serving ministers is expected to decide by July 8 whether to launch an official probe or dismiss the case. The court maneuverings follows accusations that Lagarde overstepped her authority in a case involving the French state's dispute with a flamboyant business tycoon. Lagarde denies wrongdoing, and has forged ahead with her global campaign to take over as IMF managing director after the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who faces charges of attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York.

Le Monde is in possession of documents citing two experts who say they informed Lagarde as early as the autumn of 2008 about their doubts concerning the impartiality of one of the members of an arbitration panel in the French government's long-running dispute with Parisian businessman Bernard Tapie. In 2007, Lagarde referred the case to an arbitration panel instead of allowing the case to continue through the courts. A year later, the panel ruled in favor of Tapie, who was awarded 345 million euros in damages plus interest and other fines.

Le Monde also reports that the Office of the Public Prosecutor has announced that a preliminary inquiry will probe one of the members of the panel for alleged "abuse of social power."

Lagarde has repeatedly said that the arbitration panel was the best chance for the French state to not incur further costs in the case. Until now, IMF member countries who must vote by the end of June for Strauss-Kahn's successor have not raised the French ethics probes as a stumbling block for Lagarde's candidacy.

Read the full article in French.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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