Georgieva’s future at helm of IMF still unclear after marathon board meeting

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WASHINGTON (Businesshala) – The International Monetary Fund’s executive board ended a five-hour meeting on Friday without a decision about the future of Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, saying it would seek more information about claims she made. World Bank employees were pressured to change the data to benefit China. in his previous role.

FILE PHOTO: World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva speaks at the annual session of the China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 25, 2018. Businesshala/Jason Lee/File photo

The IMF said the board had made “significant progress” in its review of the World Bank data-rigging scandal, but agreed to request “more clear details on the matter to be considered soon”.

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It was not immediately clear whether the board would meet again before the start of next week’s high-profile meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, where Georgieva is set to play a major role in presenting the global lender’s latest economic forecasts.

According to people familiar with the matter, some European governments backed the Bulgarian economist to remain IMF chief at Friday’s marathon meeting.

Other officials sought more time to review discrepancies between the accounts by Georgieva and the Wilmerhall law firm appointed by the World Bank to investigate data irregularities in its key Doing Business report.

Georgieva said that she has answered all of the board’s questions and remains at the board’s disposal until the board’s review is over.

Georgieva has vehemently denied Here The allegations, which predate his time as chief executive of the World Bank in 2017. His lawyer claimed here that the Wilmerhall investigation violated World Bank staff regulations, which did not give him the opportunity to respond to the allegations, a Wilmerhall controversy.

China has not commented on the findings of the report.

A source in the French finance ministry told Businesshala that France plans to voice its support for Georgieva at the board meeting. Britain, Germany and Italy were also expected to support Georgieva, another source with knowledge of the matter said. He also received a statement of support from African finance ministers.

Officials at the French, British and German embassies in Washington did not immediately comment. The Italian embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But amid uncertainty over the US stance, hopes of any quick consensus on his future at the IMF have faded.

The US Treasury, which controls 16.5% of the IMF’s shares, declined to comment after Friday’s meeting.

Treasury spokeswoman Alexandra Lamanna said earlier this week that the department has “emphasized for a thorough and fair accounting of all facts” in the ongoing review. “Our primary responsibility is to maintain the integrity of international financial institutions,” she said.

marathon meeting

Friday’s marathon executive board meeting, held behind closed doors, follows lengthy meetings earlier in the week with Georgieva and Wilmerhall lawyers.

Wilmerhalle’s investigation report prepared for the World Bank board Here It alleged that when Georgieva was CEO of the World Bank in 2017, she applied “undue pressure” on bank employees to make data changes in the major “Doing Business” report to boost China’s business-climate rankings.

Europe’s support is important because the IMF chief is traditionally elected by European governments, with the US administration nominating the president of the World Bank.

In 2019 France backed Georgieva, a former senior European Commission official, who is now the successor to European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, as a compromise candidate to break the impasse. She is the first person from a developing economy to head the institution.

annual meeting cloud

The issue is expected to dominate the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF next week.

Current and former employees of both institutions said the scandal had tarnished their research reputation here, regardless of who was to blame for the altered data, raising important questions over whether the work was subject to member state influence. Is.

Anne Krueger, former chief economist of the World Bank and first deputy managing director of the IMF, argued in a blog post Here On Thursday, Georgieva will have to step down to restore the fund’s credibility.

“Should Georgieva remain in her position, she and her staff will certainly be pressured to change the data and rankings of other countries,” Krueger wrote. “And even if they protest, the reports they will present will be questionable. The work of the entire institute will be devalued.”

Reporting by David Lauder and Andrea Schallal in Washington; Additional reporting by Leigh Thomas in Paris and Bart Meijer in Amsterdam; Editing by Margarita Choy, Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast.

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