IMF executives meet over charges boss changed data to favour China

AFP News Agency

22nd Sep, 2021. 06:25 pm

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board of directors met Tuesday over the charges that its director Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff in 2017 when she was the World Bank CEO to change data in a key ranking report to paint China in a more positive light.

The board did not announce any immediate decision and said it would meet again ‘soon’.

“The IMF’s Executive Board met today for an initial briefing from the Ethics Committee on the matter related to [its] managing director Kristalina Georgieva’s alleged role in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018, as described in the Investigation’s Report,” the IMF said in a statement.

It added that the board “emphasised the importance it attached to conducting a thorough, objective, and timely review and agreed to meet again soon for a further discussion”.

The board had already met with Georgieva, who denies charges, last Thursday and Friday, immediately after the investigation was made public.

The independent investigation found that during her time as the World Bank CEO, Georgieva and the then World Bank president Jim Yong Kim pressured staff to change their methodology to allow China not to dip in the closely watched rankings.

The investigation, carried out at the request of the World Bank’s ethics committee, had raised concerns about the loss of confidence in the international institutions.

The US Treasury said it was analysing the report, whose conclusions it considered ‘worrying’.

The US voices weigh heaviest in the IMF Executive Board, which chooses the organisation’s managing director, and the country also has a right of veto.

Georgieva was appointed the IMF managing director in 2019, and the lender’s member countries will “have to make a decision about whether they’re comfortable with her continuing in that role”, Nobel laureate Paul Romer said in an interview.

Romer, who was the World Bank chief economist during Georgieva’s time there, criticised her for engineering what he described as a ‘whitewash’ of separate concerns he raised about the institution’s flagship Doing Business report. The World Bank immediately announced that it would stop publishing the report.

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