International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde went on trial in Paris on Monday over her role in a 400 million euro ($424 million) payout of French taxpayer money to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Lagarde, 60, was France's finance minister in the government of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy when she approved an out-of-court settlement with Tapie to end a long-running dispute between the magnate and the French state.
Accused of negligence leading to misuse of public funds, she who denies any wrongdoing. She risks up to a year in jail and a fine of 15,000 euros ($15,895) if convicted.
Were it to happen, a maximum sentence could raise questions about the widely respected policymaker's ability to continue as head of the Washington-based IMF, where her predecessor France's Dominique Strauss Kahn, quit in 2011 over a sex assault scandal.
On the eve of Monday's trial opening, Lagarde told France 2 public television she was confident and she denied favoring Tapie or having acted on Sarkozy's orders.
Read more at Reuters.