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Report: Orange CEO, tycoon facing trial in France

Orange SA Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard and tycoon Bernard Tapie are facing trial over a €400 million payment that Tapie received in 2008 for settling a dispute with the French government, Reuters reported Dec. 20, citing a judicial source.

The source reportedly said Richard and Tapie are both accused of embezzlement and misuse of public funds.

The case revolves around a €400 million arbitration agreement in favor of Tapie regarding a long-running dispute over the sale of a stake in Adidas. At the time when the French government approved the payout, Richard was chief of staff to then Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, currently head of the International Monetary Fund.

Lagarde has been convicted of negligence, but will not face a fine or jail sentence. The judges ruled that Lagarde should have done more to overturn the award, which has subsequently been cut to zero.

While declining to comment, a spokesman for Orange reportedly said lawyers have received notice of the trial order.