U.S. Markets

U.S. Treasury Secretary wants to continue working with IMF's Lagarde

Jack Lew, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, attends the session 'Global Financial Priorities for 2016' at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew praised International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday hours after she announced her bid for a second term, saying he looked forward to continuing to work with her.

While the comment in a live CNBC television interview stopped short of a formal endorsement of the former French finance minister’s candidacy, it appeared to be a strong signal that Washington, which holds a blocking vote in the IMF, wants her to stay.

“I have a very close working relationship with Christine Lagarde,” Lew said. “I have the highest regard for her. I think she’s done a great job. I look forward to continuing working with her.”

A judge last month ordered Lagarde, whose first term expires on July 16, to stand trial in France over alleged favors for a businessman ally of then President Nicolas Sarkozy while she was finance minister. Lagarde has said she will appeal against the judge’s order and no date has been set for the trial.

Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Dominic Evans