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As IMF Half-Answers on Tunisia, Grilled on Lagarde, Called on Carpet for Tapie

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed press briefing on Thursday morning, its managing director Christine Lagarde was being grilled in the Court of Justice of the Republic, set up to judge France’s government ministers.

  At issue are Lagarde's actions while Finance Minister in payouts to Sarkozy supporter Bernard Tapie, who sold Adidas to Credit Lyonnais then got arbitration under Lagarde.

  At the IMF briefing, Lagarde's spokesperson Gerry Rice was peppered with questions: how much was the IMF board briefed about Lagarde's legal situation when she got the job, replacing Dominque Strauss Kahn after the hotel rape charges against him? How much has the IMF board since been briefed?

  Rice barely answered these or other submitted questions. He said, I'm moving on from this issue. Of the questions Inner City Press submitted, one was partial answered: the proposed Tunisia stand-by arrangement will go before the IMF board on June 7.

  But what of concerns raised in National Constituent Assembly about IMF program and what some call the anti-sovereignty conditions imposed by the IMF?

  On the indigenous, what is IMF's participation in this week's UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues? If you can, compare to the World Bank. What safeguards if any does IMF have regarding the rights of indigenous peoples?

  On the Democratic Republic of Congo, what is the IMF's position and next steps on the previous $550 million program, now that Gecamines affidavit has been filed?

   World Bank president Jim Kim, along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, is on the DRC, not only Kinshasa but also Goma (where Ban pledged help to the "Congolians"). That will be our next story. Watch this site.

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