WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund’s executive board plans to meet again on Friday after interviewing Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva over claims that she pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favor China in her previous role, a source familiar with the deliberations said.
A spokesperson for the board said only that it would come together “soon” to discuss the matter but did not give a day.
“The Executive Board remains committed to a thorough, objective, and timely review and expects to meet again soon for further discussion,” the spokesperson said.
Georgieva, who is preparing for the IMF and World Bank annual meetings next week, has strongly denied https://www.reuters.com/business/imfs-georgieva-accuses-former-world-bank-president-kims-office-manipulation -2021-09-24 the accusations.
A spokesperson for Georgieva declined to comment on Wednesday.
On Monday, board members spent five hours questioning lawyers from the WilmerHale firm about 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 the bank’s CEO in 2017, applied undue pressure on staff https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable -business/world-bank-kills-business-climate-report-after-ethics-probe-cites-undue-pressure-2021-09-16to alter data in the flagship “Doing Business” report to benefit China.
This week’s interviews could prove pivotal in either increasing or eroding support for Georgieva, with many IMF shareholders keen to wrap up the board’s deliberations on the matter before next week’s high-profile meetings.
Thus far, the fund’s most influential member governments, including top shareholder the United States, have withheld public judgment as the review process plays out.
The World Bank in January tasked WilmerHale with investigating the “Doing Business” data irregularities identified in 2020, and then issued its findings implicating Georgieva on Sept. 16.
The law firm’s report contends Georgieva and former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s office pressured staff to manipulate data so China’s global ranking in the “Doing Business 2018” study of investment climates rose to 78th from 85th. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Hugh Lawson)