International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde escaped punishment and kept her job on Monday despite a conviction on negligence charges over a state payout made while she served as France's finance minister in 2008.
he executive board representing the IMF's 189 member countries reaffirmed its full confidence in Lagarde's ability to lead the crisis lender, hours after the verdict was issued by a panel of judges in Paris with no fine or jail term.
Lagarde told reporters at IMF headquarters that she would not appeal the decision after vigorously fighting the charge since she took the IMF's helm in 2011.
"I have been held negligent, but without penalty, without sanction, without registration of the decision," she said. "I am not satisfied with it, but there's a point in time when one has to just stop, turn the page and move on and continue to work with those who have put their trust in me."
In Monday's ruling, the judges did not find negligence in Lagarde's decision to seek an out-of-court settlement with tycoon Bernard Tapie, but they said her failure to contest the award to him of about 400 million euros ($417 million) was negligent and led to a misuse of public funds.
The lead judge on the case, Martine Ract Madoux, explained the absence of any sentence by citing Lagarde's preoccupation with the 2008-09 financial crisis that was raging at the time of the payout as well as her strong international reputation. The charge could have carried a maximum one-year prison sentence.