IMF board to question Georgieva on data rigging allegations on Wednesday – sources


(Correct the day without comment in paragraph 7.)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund will question chief executive Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday as it examines allegations that she pressured World Bank staff to change data in favor from China in his previous role, sources familiar with the plans said.

An IMF spokesperson declined to comment on the board’s schedule.

Board members were originally scheduled to meet Georgieva https://www.reuters.com/business/imf-board-grill-investigators-georgieva-data-rigging-claims-this-week-sources-2021-10-03 on Tuesday, but spent their time working on other day-to-day business, one of the sources said.

On Monday, board members spent hours questioning lawyers at WilmerHale on their World Bank investigation report https://thedocs.worldbank.org/en/doc/84a922cc9273b7b120d49ad3b9e9d3f9-0090012021/original/ DB-Investigation-Findings-and-Report-to-the-Board-of-Executive-Directors-September-15-2021.pdf, which alleged that Georgieva, as CEO of the bank in 2017, exerted undue pressure on staff https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable- business / world-bank-kills-business-climate-report-after-ethics-probe-cites-undue-pressure-2021-09-16 to modify the data from the flagship “Doing Business” report for the benefit of China.

Subsequently, an IMF spokesperson said that the IMF’s executive board “remains committed to a thorough, objective and timely review” of the matter.

Georgieva, who strongly denied the accusations https://www.reuters.com/business/imfs-georgieva-accuses-former-world-bank-president-kims-office-manipulation-2021-09-24, did not mentioned the issues during a virtual speech Tuesday https://www.reuters.com/business/imf-sees-global-gdp-2021-slightly-below-prior-forecast-6-2021-10-05 on the world economy ahead of the annual IMF and World Bank meetings October 11-17.

A spokesperson for Georgieva declined to comment on Tuesday.

This week’s talks could prove key to increasing or eroding support for Georgieva, with many IMF shareholders keen to wrap up board deliberations on the issue ahead of next week’s high-profile meetings.

So far, the most influential member governments of the fund, including the largest shareholder in the United States, have withheld the public’s judgment as the review process unfolds.

In January, the World Bank tasked WilmerHale with investigating irregularities in “Doing Business” data identified in 2020, then released its findings involving Georgieva on September 16.

The law firm’s report argues that Georgieva and the office of former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim pressured staff to manipulate the data, so China’s global ranking in the “Doing Business 2018” study on investment climates rose from 85 to 78.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder, editing by Sam Holmes)


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