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French court clears Orange CEO Richard of wrongdoing in fraud trial

PARIS, July 9 (Reuters) - A French court on Tuesday cleared Orange chief executive Stephane Richard of misconduct in a French fraud trial, clearing the way for him to remain at the helm of the country's biggest telecom operator.

The court acquitted Richard of complicity in fraud for allegedly misinforming and disobeying France's then finance minister Christine Lagarde in 2008, when he was her chief of staff.

The French state is Orange's biggest shareholder. In the run up to the ruling, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had repeated the government position that bosses of state-controlled companies should quit if convicted of a crime. (Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Emmanuel Jarry Writing by Richard Lough Editing by Mathieu Rosemain)