(Kiosk Photo: The Cafe de Flore and Miss Dior, Natalie Portman, at Saint Germain des Pres in Paris, France, by SC.)
Le Kiosque 25 May 2013
This week, France came close to a scandal… another time! It involved Christine Lagarde, who has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since July 2011. (The former MD was a certain Dominique Strauss-Kahn. who was obliged to resign.) Lagarde was previously the minister of the economy when Nicolas Sarkozy was president. She was suspected of putting the State at a disadvantage when she decided to resolve a seemingly interminable and costly lawsuit by French businessman Bernard Tapie through arbitration in 2008. He walked away with something like 400 million euros.
This shadow has been hanging over the silver-haired Lagarde for years. No one has ever suggested she profited from the decision. The suspicion is that Sarkozy won political capital. Finally, this week Lagarde had her day explaining it all to the court. The magistrate deemed her a material witness, brought no charges, and sent her back to her throne at the IMF in Washington.
Even though Lagarde’s name is sometimes floated as a presidential candidate in 2017, her likely opponent, current President François Hollande, was no doubt relieved by the court’s decision. The Prestige of France was at stake after the shameful departure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn two years ago. That is why Hollande did nothing to make things worse for the MD of the IMF, even if he was tempted.
— Solène Cressant

(Kiosk Photo: The Cafe de Flore and Miss Dior, Natalie Portman, at Saint Germain des Pres in Paris, France, by SC.)

Le Kiosque 25 May 2013

This week, France came close to a scandal… another time! It involved Christine Lagarde, who has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since July 2011. (The former MD was a certain Dominique Strauss-Kahn. who was obliged to resign.) Lagarde was previously the minister of the economy when Nicolas Sarkozy was president. She was suspected of putting the State at a disadvantage when she decided to resolve a seemingly interminable and costly lawsuit by French businessman Bernard Tapie through arbitration in 2008. He walked away with something like 400 million euros.

This shadow has been hanging over the silver-haired Lagarde for years. No one has ever suggested she profited from the decision. The suspicion is that Sarkozy won political capital. Finally, this week Lagarde had her day explaining it all to the court. The magistrate deemed her a material witness, brought no charges, and sent her back to her throne at the IMF in Washington.

Even though Lagarde’s name is sometimes floated as a presidential candidate in 2017, her likely opponent, current President François Hollande, was no doubt relieved by the court’s decision. The Prestige of France was at stake after the shameful departure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn two years ago. That is why Hollande did nothing to make things worse for the MD of the IMF, even if he was tempted.

— Solène Cressant

DSK: What a difference a year makes. Our Newsweek International cover story on Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the stands in November 2010 painted him as the next leader of France, and perhaps the world. Such was the conventional wisdom and the reading of the polls at the time. But the scandals that began to break around him and his womanizing last May, and continue breaking to this day, have made all that seem like ancient history. On the right is the cover of today’s Le Parisien.

KIOSQUE:
Business could be brisker for this lonely little kiosk under roiling clouds and thunderclaps at Paris Plages. The city’s month-long Seine-side “beach” opened yesterday. Fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine before it closes August 21.
Le Figaro today has a smiling composite of new IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Nicolas Sarkozy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Angela Merkel, under the triumphal headline “Europe Saves Greece and Reinforces the Euro” after the Brussels summit ran deep into yesterday evening to pull out an agreement. The financial daily Les Echos adds other smiling faces and declares, “Europe Concludes a Historic Accord to Save the Euro.” No smiling politicians for Libération’s cover, which asks “Crisis of the Euro: Who Will Pay?” Le Parisien has a piece on France falling for Twitter, although the French make up only one percent of the world’s tweeps. The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair – where tweets from the courtroom were the press’s lifeline – is credited with hooking French hacks.
DSK who? France Soir’s cover has another Socialist, François Hollande, putting up big numbers on Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the 2012 presidential election. “Hollande Crushes Sarkozy,” it declares, with 57 percent for Hollande to 43 percent for the incumbent in an Ifop-France Soir poll.
Almost all the dailies reserve part of their frontpage for a fist-pumping man in yellow, Thomas Voeckler, the unassuming French cyclist who kept the Tour de France leader’s jersey for a tenth day with his heroics on the Col du Galibier yesterday, only three days from Sunday’s finish on the Champs Elysées. No Frenchman has won the race since 1985.
((The kiosks don’t know it yet, but Voeckler finally just lost the yellow jersey to one of Luxembourg’s Schleck brothers, Andy, which was pretty much in the cards. Andy’s bro Frank is second. Voeckler drops to fourth. But a French guy, Pierre Rolland, won today’s stage.))

KIOSQUE:

Business could be brisker for this lonely little kiosk under roiling clouds and thunderclaps at Paris Plages. The city’s month-long Seine-side “beach” opened yesterday. Fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine before it closes August 21.

Le Figaro today has a smiling composite of new IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Nicolas Sarkozy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Angela Merkel, under the triumphal headline “Europe Saves Greece and Reinforces the Euro” after the Brussels summit ran deep into yesterday evening to pull out an agreement. The financial daily Les Echos adds other smiling faces and declares, “Europe Concludes a Historic Accord to Save the Euro.” No smiling politicians for Libération’s cover, which asks “Crisis of the Euro: Who Will Pay?” Le Parisien has a piece on France falling for Twitter, although the French make up only one percent of the world’s tweeps. The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair – where tweets from the courtroom were the press’s lifeline – is credited with hooking French hacks.

DSK who? France Soir’s cover has another Socialist, François Hollande, putting up big numbers on Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the 2012 presidential election. “Hollande Crushes Sarkozy,” it declares, with 57 percent for Hollande to 43 percent for the incumbent in an Ifop-France Soir poll.

Almost all the dailies reserve part of their frontpage for a fist-pumping man in yellow, Thomas Voeckler, the unassuming French cyclist who kept the Tour de France leader’s jersey for a tenth day with his heroics on the Col du Galibier yesterday, only three days from Sunday’s finish on the Champs Elysées. No Frenchman has won the race since 1985.

((The kiosks don’t know it yet, but Voeckler finally just lost the yellow jersey to one of Luxembourg’s Schleck brothers, Andy, which was pretty much in the cards. Andy’s bro Frank is second. Voeckler drops to fourth. But a French guy, Pierre Rolland, won today’s stage.))

Lagarde even has experience stepping in to help turn an institution’s image around after testosterone-fueled disaster. In 1994, a San Francisco court ruled against Baker & McKenzie in a highly embarrassing sexual harassment suit, putting a boorish workplace culture under a microscope the way the Strauss-Kahn incident has today at the IMF.
Tracy McNicoll’s surprising portrait of Christine Lagarde on The Daily Beast

This video from early yesterday looks at a couple of the places Dominique Strauss-Kahn might be staying under house arrest in New York City after being released on a million dollars cash bail while awaiting trial for sex crimes. Later in the afternoon he wound up at a much less exalted address downtown after the management of The Bristol did indeed turn him away.

Talking with Eliot Spitzer about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. Note this comment on the CNN site:

Bill Jones

Hats off to Eliot Spitzer for not shying away from this too-close-for-comfort story! Spitzer did, however, trip over his words uncharacteristically a few times. Perhaps he should’ve stayed away from this story. I had to flinch a few times when I thought the female reporter was smiling knowingly at him.