The report puts IMF director Kristalina Georgieva at risk of undermining her authority just weeks before an annual meeting of global financial leaders.
IMF director Kristalina Georgieva this week gave the lender’s board a more detailed defense against allegations that she improperly influenced a report in favor of China in her previous job at the World Bank.
In a three-page letter to the head of the board’s ethics committee dated Sept. 21 and obtained by Bloomberg News, Georgieva — who was the chief executive officer of the World Bank at the time — said she was surprised by the conclusion of law firm WilmerHale in a Sept. 15 audit report that she played a “key role” in changes related to China’s ranking in the Doing Business 2018 report.
“This is just not true,” Georgieva wrote. “The premise on which this allegation is based – that I pressured staff to inflate China’s Doing Business 2018 rankings because of the Bank’s capital increase – is wrong and based on fundamental misunderstandings about my role as CEO of the World Bank, the work on capital raising, my involvement in Doing Business 2018 and how I carry myself personally and professionally.”
The report puts Georgieva, 68, at risk of undermining her authority just weeks before an annual meeting of global financial leaders. The US Treasury considers the allegations serious and “analyzes the report,” while Republican lawmakers have called on the Treasury to investigate the allegations.
The IMF previously promised a “thorough, objective and timely assessment” of the charges against Georgieva. Last week, after the WilmerHale audit was released, Georgieva said she disagreed with the findings and told fund staff at a town hall that she had asked staff to double- or triple-check data, but never got the final message. to change.
The IMF press office declined to comment on the letter. WilmerHale did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the letter, Georgieva said her involvement in reviewing the Doing Business report was part of her job of overseeing the department that prepared it.
She said she “asked the team to thoroughly review every data point and judgment applied to the rankings to make sure we were on solid ground. I also asked the team to address many members’ complaints.” that their reforms have not led to a higher ranking.”
Georgieva said she later learned that the Doing Business team “decided to make some changes to the Chinese data, which affected the ranking.” In the end, China’s ranking remained the same as the previous year’s instead of declining, though it did not rise, Georgieva wrote.
Georgieva wrote in the letter that the audit contains “many other allegations, allusions and conjectures” that are not true.