IMF board approves allowing Georgieva to remain as IMF head

Washington, Oct 12 (BNA) The International Monetary Fund expressed “full confidence” in its managing director Tuesday in response to allegations that World Bank employees were under pressure to change business ratings for China in an attempt to placate Beijing.

The IMF’s 24-member Executive Board said in a statement that its review “did not conclusively establish that Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, played an improper role” in the situation from her previous role as a senior official at the World Bank, The Associated Press (AP) reports.

“After reviewing all the evidence presented, the Executive Board reaffirms its full confidence in the MD’s leadership and ability to continue to carry out his duties effectively,” she said.

But she said an investigation into possible misconduct by World Bank staff was ongoing and that the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, had said it planned to monitor the further investigation into the case closely.

Georgieva has denied wrongdoing in response to a report alleging that she played a role in pressuring employees to adjust data affecting business climate ratings in China and other countries.

The US Treasury said in a statement that US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke with Georgieva by phone and said the report “raised legitimate issues and concerns.”

However, Treasury agreed that “in the absence of more direct evidence regarding the role of the Director-General, there is no basis for changing the leadership of the IMF.”

Yellen said it is critical to defend the integrity of both the IMF and the World Bank.

The United States believes that proactive steps must be taken to enhance data integrity and credibility at the IMF, and that the institution and its leadership must renew their commitment to support transparency and protect whistleblowers surrounding policy, research, and analysis to provide accountability and public oversight for key decisions,” the Treasury statement said.

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The International Monetary Fund said late Friday that it was seeking more “illustrative details” in its investigation, and the board met again with Georgieva on Sunday.

Georgieva appeared before a panel for more than five hours last week after a presentation by the law firm Wilmerhill, which she and other World Bank officials alleged had pressured staff to change the data.

The law firm’s report prompted the World Bank to halt its annual Doing Business report, which China and other countries have used to attract foreign business investment.

The incident prompted critics to argue that China, the world’s second largest economy, has a great influence on international financial organizations.

The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which includes 190 countries, are taking place this week in Washington, and the controversy surrounding the Doing Business report threatens to cast a shadow on the agenda of those meetings.

Georgieva is only the second woman to head the International Monetary Fund, two years after Christine Lagarde, who left the IMF to head the European Central Bank.

RAE

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