The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde is to stand trial in France over a €400 million (£291m) payment made to a businessman in 2008.
Ms Lagarde was finance minister for the French government during Nicolas Sarkozy's reign as President when the payment was made to Bernard Tapie in compensation for the sale of a business.
Her lawyers described the decision as "incomprehensible" and said it would appealed.
Mr Tapie was the majority shareholder Adidas but sold his stake in 1993 to become a cabinet office minister. He accused part-state-owned Credit Lyonnais of mishandling the sale, claiming it deliberately undervalued Adidas.
Authorities investigating the compensation awarded to Mr Tapie by a three-member panel, headed by Ms Lagarde, now suspect that it was awarded in exchange for his support for Mr Sarkozy in the 2007 election.