January 22, 2018 / 9:25 AM / 9 months ago

French Finance Minister backs contract renewal for embattled Orange CEO Richard

PARIS (Reuters) - Orange Chief Executive Stephane Richard’s contract should be renewed, France’s finance minister said on Monday, even after Richard was ordered to stand trial for abusing public funds in a case unrelated to the telecommunications firm.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard is pictured on stage during a session, organized by an association called "Les Napoleons" in Paris, France December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier -

“Stephane Richard has done a good job,” Bruno Le Maire said on Radio Classique. “His contract should be renewed.”

Le Maire also reiterated comments on Sunday in which he said Richard would have to resign if he was convicted. The French state is Orange’s biggest shareholder with a 13.4 percent stake.

The CEO of Orange is facing charges in relation to his role in paying businessman Bernard Tapie about 400 million euros ($489.36 million) in compensation from public funds in 2008, when Richard was chief of staff to then finance minister Christine Lagarde.

Richard has denied wrongdoing.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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