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  22 Sep 2021, 10:28

IMF execs meets over charges boss changed data to favor China

   WASHINGTON, Sept 22, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The International Monetary Fund's
board of directors met Tuesday over 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 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 "emphasized 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 the charges, last
Thursday and Friday, immediately after the investigation was made public.

   The independent investigation found that during her time as World Bank
CEO, Georgieva and 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 international
institutions.

   The US Treasury said it was analyzing the report, whose conclusions it
considered "worrying."

   US voices weigh heaviest in the IMF executive board, which chooses the
organization's managing director, and the country also has a right of veto.

   Georgieva was appointed 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 World Bank chief economist during Georgieva's time there,
criticized 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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