(Updates with comments from Richard’s spokesman)
PARIS, March 8 (Reuters) - The Paris prosecutor has asked that Stephane Richard, the chief executive of French telecoms group Orange, stand trial over allegations of fraud alongside French businessman Bernard Tapie and four others, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
The Tapie case concerns payments the entrepreneur received in 2008 from the French government while Richard was chief of staff to Christine Lagarde, then France’s finance minister.
Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), escaped punishment and kept her job despite being convicted of negligence last December in the same affair.
The prosecutor’s request was made to an investigating magistrate who will decide whether to go ahead with a trial over the allegations of fraud and misuse of public funds.
Tapie declined to comment.
Richard “calmly awaits the next steps of the procedure that will allow him to prove that the accusations raised against him are totally unfounded,” a spokesman for Orange’s chief executive said. (Reporting by Chine Labbe and Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Greg Mahlich)