IMF backs leader after reports of data rigging at World Bank

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Data rigging

On Monday (Oct 11), the International Monetary Fund’s executive board expressed its support for Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva after reviewing allegations that she pressurised World Banks staff to change data in China’s favour.  

U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen put Georgieva on notice stating that she will need to monitor how the IMF follow-up and evaluate new facts, calling for proactive measures to be implemented to reinforce data integrity.

Reuters state that “the Fund’s 24-member board and the U.S. Treasury issued separate lengthy statements after a week of marathon meetings over Georgieva’s actions as World Bank CEO that threw into question her continued leadership of the IMF.”

The first person from a developing country to head the fund, Bulgarian economist Georgieva has strongly denied any wrongdoing. She applauded the comments made by the board in her defence, stating that she said was pleased its members had agreed the allegations were unfounded.

“This has obviously been a difficult episode for me personally,” Georgieva commented. “However, I want to express my unyielding support for the independence and integrity of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF; and my respect for all those committed to protecting the values on which these organizations are founded.”

According to sources, U.S. and Japanese officials, the fund’s two largest shareholders,  were keen for a stricter review on the allegations, despite the support shown by France and other European governments.

The issue arose when Law firm WilmerHale had composed a damning report for the World Bank’s board about data irregularities in the bank’s now-canceled “Doing Business” report.

According to Reuters, the report stated that “Georgieva and other senior officials applied “undue pressure” on bank staff to make changes to boost China’s ranking in the report, just as the bank was seeking Beijing’s support for a major capital increase.”

The accusations date back to 2017 when Georgieva was the World Bank’s chief executive. She became the IMF’s managing director in October 2019

Source: Reuters

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