(Updates with comments from Richard's spokesman)
PARIS, March 8 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
(Reporting by Chine Labbe and Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by
Andrew Callus; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Greg Mahlich)