>> The head of the internally monetary fund in court over a state pay out to a French businessman. Christine Lagarde standing trial over her role in a 400 million Euro payment to Bernard Tapie. She was France's Finance minister at the time. Lagarde's accused of negligence leading to misuse of public funds.
She approved an extremely rare decision to allow an out of court settlement that ended up costing tax payers dearly. Lagarde denies that she favored Tapie or had acted on then President Sarkozi's orders. Reuters DeClerc is following the trial in Paris.>> She says she did nothing wrong. She says she's confident she will win this trial.
She appeared today for the first time in court. She said she will cooperate and answer all questions. And she's being blamed for negligence. She says well, I mean everybody can be a bit negligent in their life. But she did her best, basically, that is her line of defense.
>> Lagarde could face up to a year in jail and a fine of 15,000 euros. A Paris appeals court has ordered Tapie to reimburse the state, but he's launched an appeal that is still pending.>> Tapie was a rich man before he was handed 400 million euros. After he got this sum he started buying villas, and was going around being on the news and basically gloating about it, in a country where it is a lot of pressure on government budgets already.
And where the state is highly indebted and where people are struggling to make ends meet. If a very wealthy man is going to be given 400 million euros, people want to be sure that this was done in the correct way and that there's definitely nothing on towards about it, and that's it the real issue on this trial.
>> The trial will be only the fifth in the history of the court
a special court that tries ministers for crimes in office.