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Orange CEO fate to be decided Monday after corruption probe


09:36, June 15, 2013

PARIS, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The French state, a major stakeholder in Oranage telecoms operator, will decide next week whether its CEO Stephane Richard will maintain his post after being placed under formal investigation in a fraud probe, President Francois Hollande said Friday.

Speaking in a joint press meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Hollande announced a board meeting in June 17 when "(we) will reveal our decision," he added.

"This decision will be made based on a single criterion: the interests of the company, its employees and its customers," the president noted.

On Wednesday, Richard was placed under formal investigation for "organized fraud" as part of a corruption probe in using, when he was a government aide, a controversial arbitration to settle a dispute between the high-profile businessman Bernard Tapie and state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.

A state payout worth 400 million euros (533.46 million U.S. dollars) was awarded to magnate Tapie to end a long-running court battle in 2008.

Richard risked being sentenced to 10-year jail term and fined 1 million euros.

Last month, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde was also questioned for two days about the payout to Tapie, but she was named an "assisted witness."

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