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IMF chief fights to keep her job


WASHINGTON:

Embattled International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva was fighting for her professional life on Saturday as the institution’s Executive Board considers evidence she manipulated data in favour of China while in a senior role at the World Bank.

The board said after a meeting on Friday it will decide very soon whether she keeps her job, and could meet again on Saturday, a source close to the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The review pertains to an investigation by law firm WilmerHale that found that during her time as World Bank CEO, Georgieva was among top officials who pressured staff into changing data to China’s benefit in the 2018 edition of its closely watched Doing Business report.

The board said it had made significant progress in its assessment of the case but agreed “to request more clarifying details with a view to very soon concluding its consideration of the matter.”

Georgieva, 68, has won the support of France and other European countries, the source said. However, the United States – a key member of the IMF – has not yet stated its position on this controversy, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Time is of the essence with the IMF and the World Bank to begin their fall meetings on Monday.

“There is a review currently underway with the IMF board, and Treasury has pushed for a thorough and fair accounting of all the facts,” said US Treasury spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna.

“Our primary responsibility is to uphold the integrity of international financial institutions.”

Georgieva, a Bulgarian national and economist by training, spoke to the IMF board on Wednesday.

She has repeatedly denied the report’s conclusions, and on Thursday released a letter from her attorney to the board objecting to WilmerHale’s findings, as well as her 12-page testimony to the 24 board members.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2021.

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