Court to decide on Lagarde probe July 8: judicial source

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A French court will rule on July 8 whether to allow a probe into claims Finance Minister Christine Lagarde abused her power, by which time she could be head of the IMF, judicial sources said Friday.

Lagarde is the frontrunner in the race to lead the International Monetary Fund, despite a legal threat hanging over her at home, where she could face prosecution over her role in a multi-million euro business dispute.

Nominations for the managing director position close on Friday and the IMF board is due to select a new leader by the end of the month, but Lagarde will be left guessing about her legal status until more than a week after that.

"The petition commission of the Court of Justice of the Republic will make its decision known on July 8 at its next sitting," a judicial official said, referring to a court which decides whether ministers can be investigated.

On that date, the court will make one of three rulings: It could decide Lagarde has no case to answer, it could order a formal investigation into her conduct or it could request more information on which to make a decision.

© 2011 AFP

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