IMF board authorizes Georgieva to remain IMF head

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FIEL – In this file photo from September 6, 2021, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the floating office where a high-level dialogue on climate adaptation takes place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The IMF backed the managing director against allegations that World Bank staff were forced to change the ranking of Chinese companies in an attempt to appease Beijing. The scandal had raised questions about whether Georgieva, who has denied any wrongdoing, would be asked to step down from her post. (AP Photo / Peter Dejong, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday expressed “full confidence” in its managing director in response to allegations that World Bank staff were forced to change the ranking of Chinese companies in an attempt to appease Beijing .

The IMF’s 24-member board said in a statement that its review “did not conclusively show that Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva played an inappropriate role” in the situation in her former World Bank senior official role.

“Having considered all the evidence presented, the Board of Directors reaffirms its full confidence in the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer and his ability to continue to perform his duties effectively,” he said.

However, he said the investigation into possible misconduct by World Bank staff was continuing and the United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder, said it planned to closely monitor the lawsuit. of the investigation into the matter.

Georgieva has denied any wrongdoing in response to a report alleging she played a role in pressuring staff to change data affecting the ranking of the business climate of China and other countries.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to Georgieva by phone and said the report “raised legitimate issues and concerns,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

However, the Treasury agreed that “in the absence of additional direct evidence regarding the role of the managing director, there is no basis for a change in the leadership of the IMF.”

Yellen said it was crucial to uphold the integrity of the IMF and the World Bank.

The “United States believes that proactive steps must be taken to strengthen the integrity and credibility of data at the IMF, and that the institution and its leaders must renew their commitment to maintain transparency and whistleblower protection regarding policies. , research and analysis to ensure accountability and public oversight over key decisions, ”the Treasury statement said.

The IMF said on Friday evening that it was seeking more “clarifying details” in its investigation and the board met with Georgieva again on Sunday.

Georgieva appeared before a panel for more than five hours last week after a presentation by law firm WilmerHale which alleged that she and other World Bank officials pressured staff to change the data.

The law firm’s report prompted the World Bank to discontinue the annual Doing Business report, which China and other countries had used to attract foreign business investment.

The incident prompted critics to argue that China, the world’s second-largest economy, has too much influence over international financial organizations.

The annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank of 190 countries are being held this week in Washington, and the controversy surrounding the Doing Business report threatened to eclipse the agendas of those meetings.

Georgieva is only the second woman to head the IMF, succeeding Christine Lagarde two years ago, who left the IMF to take the helm of the European Central Bank.

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