IMF boss, Christine Lagarde, handed a suspended prison sentence

The head of International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has been found guilty of negligence on a corruption charge.

The French Court of Justice of the Republic found Lagarde guilty over her handling of a dispute between France and wealthy businessman Bernard Tapie.

In a blow to her otherwise stellar career, the court knocked Lagarde for failing to contest the massive payment.

It is not immediately clear what impact the finding will have on her position at IMF.

The IMF board was to meet in Washington in the wake of the court’s decision.

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Christine Lagarde was not in court when the sentence was handed down.

In a surprise twist, the French court exempted her from any penalty and spared her from paying a fine or commuted to prison.

Maisonneuve, Lagarde’s lawyer, welcomed the absence of a punishment but said he “Would have preferred that she be simply cleared”.

The court cleared her of negligence over her decision to refer the matter to arbitration but upheld the charge of her failure to contest the award.

Lagarde told the court last week she had acted in good faith and that her sole aim had been “To defend the general interest”.

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The Court of Justice of the Republic hears cases against ministers accused of wrongdoing in office.

The punishment for negligence theoretically carries a one-year prison sentence and a 15,000-euro fine.

Lagarde’s voice cracked with emotion on Friday as she said the trial had put her family through a “testing” time.

Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin had said he believed the evidence was “very weak” and was opposed to convicting Lagarde.

Another of her lawyers, Bernard Grelon, said her fault was “not one of negligence.

“It is having taken a decision which turned out badly”.