Kristalina Georgieva on a tightrope: The IMF board will meet again this Sunday to assess the situation of its questioned director

With or without a chin strap, Georgieva has vigorously defended herself against the accusations and even hired a public relations firm EFE/EPA/SHAWN THEW

In a move that appeared on Friday to be postponed until after the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which begins on Monday in Washington, The IMF board is meeting again this Sunday with the institution’s director general, Kristalina Georgieva, and the law firm Wilmerhill, which alleges Georgieva pressured World Bank staff to change data in favor of China while she served as that bank’s CEO.Reuters reported, citing “sources familiar with the plan.”

According to the agency, “the closest decision on Georgieva’s future will be on Monday, when finance ministers and other officials from many of the IMF’s 190 member countries will gather in Washington for the annual fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”

This Friday, the IMF board debated the matter for five hours before adjourning the session and asked for more “explanatory details”, which could be resolved on Sunday, after executives listen and gather the parties’ explanations.

From scandal to eclipse

The scandal threatens to cast a shadow over high-level meetings on the global economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and global financial issues, in discussions to be held, in part, with other online gatherings.

Georgieva strongly denied the allegations, which go back to her actions when she was director of operations at the World Bank.. The attorney for the current IMF director says the investigation by law firm WilmerHale violated the bank’s employees’ rules by denying them the opportunity to respond to the accusations, something the firm, which was appointed by the same agency to investigate the allegations, has denied. Among the irregularities in two versions of the annual Doing Business report, a kind of check on the competitiveness and business climate in about 190 countries around the world.

Georgieva with Li Keqiang, one of the Chinese officials who would have pressured the World Bank to achieve a better rating for his country, which would have led to the manipulations that a report attributed to Georgieva.
Georgieva with Li Keqiang, one of the Chinese officials who would have pressured the World Bank to achieve a better rating for his country, which would have led to the manipulations that a report attributed to Georgieva.

separately

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The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Georgieva and Wilmerhill’s lawyers will appear separately before the fund’s board of directors. On the other hand, there were no comments from Georgieva, who even hired a PR firm, SKDK, to defend herself publicly, nor from the study that produced the damned report.

on the principle The accusation is that Georgieva, through his compatriot Semyon Djankov, and other senior officials, pressured the team responsible for preparing the report, to better position China, which went from 82nd in the first editions to 75th in. The final version of Doing Business 2018, published on October 31 of that year.

According to the report, the manipulation came in response to pressure from Chinese government officials. In the environment of the strategic confrontation between Washington and Beijing, these are accusations of enormous political weight, so much so that Three lawmakers from the US Congress, two Republicans and one Democrat, have asked the US Treasury to study the matter comprehensively, as well as investigate Georgieva’s relations with Chinese representatives already in her role as director and director of the International Monetary Fund.

The governments of Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom on Friday joined the position France initially took to support Georgieva’s continuation, but the position of the United States, the fund’s main contributor, was not known. The European fear may be that in the face of this new misstep of a European official at the head of the International Monetary Fund, the United States will seek to appoint an American to this position.

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Since 1946, when the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were founded, a North American has always been appointed as the first president (there was no woman at the head of that institution) while a European has always been appointed as the head of the fund, as was the case with the directors The last two, the French Christine Lagarde The Bulgarian Georgieva.

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