A French court has ordered Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to face trial over her role in a pay-out of some 400 million euros ($434 million) to businessman Bernard Tapie, French media said.

Magistrates at the Cour de justice de la Republique - which judges ministers for crimes in office - were not immediately able to answer requests for comments.

A person close to Lagarde was unable to immediately confirm the reports on iTele TV channel and the Mediapart investigative website.

France's main prosecutor recommended in September that magistrates drop their investigation into Lagarde for alleged negligence with regard to the affair. She was France's finance minister when the pay-out was ordered.

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