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IMF backs Georgieva after World Bank data-rigging scandal

IMF backs Georgieva after World Bank data-rigging scandal

The International Monetary Fund’s chief Kristalina Georgieva got full confidence from the executive board. The allegations against the IMF’s Managing Director were reviewed.

The allegations that Ms Georgieva has been pressured World Bank staff in her previous job to alter data to favour China were reviewed by the 24-member board and the US Department of the Treasury.

The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen put IMF chief on notice that she would closely monitor the IMF’s follow-up and evaluate any new facts or findings, and called for proactive steps to reinforce data integrity and credibility at the IMF.

The Fund’s issued separate lengthy statements Monday after a week of marathon meetings over Georgieva’s actions as WB CEO that threw into question her continued leadership of the IMF.

Georgieva welcomed the board’s endorsement in a separate statement of her own and said she was pleased its members had agreed the allegations against her were unfounded.

“This has obviously been a difficult episode for me personally,” the Bulgarian financier wrote.

In addition, she expressed her unyielding support for the independence and integrity of institutions such as the WB and IMF.

Scandalous issue: IMF

At issue was a damning report prepared by the law firm WilmerHale for the World Bank’s board about data irregularities in the bank’s now-cancelled “Doing Business” report.

The firm’s report alleged that Georgieva and other senior officials applied “undue pressure” on bank staff to make changes to boost China’s ranking in the business review, just as the bank was seeking Beijing’s support for a significant capital increase.

IMF chief strongly denied the allegations, which date back to 2017, when she was the World Bank’s chief executive. She became the IMF’s managing director in October 2019.

The scandal has also dented research reputations at both institutions, raising critical questions about whether that work is subject to the member-country influence, current and former staff from both institutions say.

Malpass declined on Monday to comment on the IMF process but said the World Bank was working to improve the integrity of its research, including by elevating its chief economist, Carmen Reinhart, to be part of the bank’s 10-person senior management team.