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IMF chief in spotlight after China rigging report By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Kristalina Georgiaeva (IMF) is pictured with Li Keqiang, Chinese premier. She was speaking to Georgieva before the news conference that followed the Diaoyutai’s “1+6” Roundtable in Beijing. November 21st 2019.

By Leigh Thomas

PARIS (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund’s ethics committee and board need to look into a report alleging its chief Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff to boost China’s ranking in a flagship report while at the World Bank, a French finance ministry source said on Friday.

Since 2019, Georgieva is the IMF’s chief. During this time, the IMF has had a heightened role, with the distribution of $650 billion worth of Special Drawing Rights (its quasi-currency) as part a push to combat economic harm caused by COVID-19.

It’s serious. According to a finance ministry source, the independent report does not constitute a judgement. The IMF’s ethics board and committee must review the report, hear the managing director, and then present their conclusions.

France can only fully analyze the situation if it is based on the report. It was prepared at World Bank’s request by an outside firm.

Georgieva stated that she does not agree “fundamentally” with the conclusions and interpretations of the report. However, it damaged her reputation only weeks before the annual meeting of global chiefs of finance.

On Thursday, the results of an independent investigation revealed that World Bank executives, including the then-chief executive Georgieva, applied “unduepressure” to staff in order to increase China’s position in its “Doing Business 2018” report.

The Washington-based multilateral lender wanted China to support a large capital raise at the time.

On Thursday, the World Bank announced that it was cancelling its report series. This is a surprise to investors who have relied on it for country risk assessment.

U.S. Treasury Department manages the largest shareholdings of the United States in IMF/World Bank. The department said that they were analyzing the report’s “serious results”.

According to Reuters, officials from Japan (another key donor) were discussing the report with their counterparts in countries other than the United States.

Nearly two years have passed since Georgieva, a Bulgarian IMF chief took office, shortly after the largest global economic crisis in its 76 year history. This was caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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