By Vicki Needham - 08/27/14 11:58 AM EDT
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, on Wednesday maintained her innocence as a French court’s corruption probe advanced.
Lagarde, who is now under official investigation for negligence over decisions made during her time as France's finance minister, said that the probe was “without merit” and “totally unfounded” and that she was heading back to work in Washington, according to news reports.
She has been repeatedly questioned about her role in the 2008 arbitration proceeding that paid 400 million euros, equivalent to about $531 million, to Bernard Tapie in a dispute over the sale of his company, Adidas.
Critics argue that the deal was too generous and only serves as an example of the strong connection between politicians and business.
Lagarde said that she was being investigated for "simple negligence" and she plans to appeal the decision to launch the formal investigation.
Under French law, the step toward an official investigation is the same as preliminary charges, so there is a chance that there was some wrongdoing. Based on the evidence compiled, the case could be dropped or sent to trial.
The court's main job is to examine the behavior of government officials.