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France Tel CEO decision to be unveiled Monday: Hollande

France Telecom Orange Chairman and CEO Stephane Richard attends the company's 2012 annual results presentation in Paris February 20, 2013. R
France Telecom Orange Chairman and CEO Stephane Richard attends the company's 2012 annual results presentation in Paris February 20, 2013. R

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said a decision on the future of France Telecom's chief executive Stephane Richard would be announced on Monday after an executive board meeting to be held on the same day.

"We will make our decision known on Monday. It will be made on the basis of one thing: the interest of the company, its workers and clients," Hollande said at a news conference of Richard's future, in doubt since he was put under formal investigation this week in a fraud case. He denies wrongdoing.

Europe's fourth-largest telecom group is 27 percent owned by the state.

Sources familiar with the company's governance told Reuters the views of Hollande's Socialist government will likely determine the outcome, even though the state only holds three of 15 board seats.

Richard was a top aide in the finance ministry under former president Nicolas Sarkozy when his government awarded tycoon Bernard Tapie 285 million euros ($373 million) in damages in his long battle with defunct bank Credit Lyonnais.

Tapie, a supporter of Sarkozy, had contested the bank's role in the 1993 sale of his stake in sports firm Adidas .

Investigating judges are examining allegations that Tapie got favorable treatment because of his political ties when the government decided to take the case to arbitration instead of court.

(Reporting By Elizabeth Pineau; writing by John Irish; editing by Mark John)

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