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IMF Board Scanning MD Georgieva’s Data-Rigging Claims: Sources

The board will question lawyers from the WilmerHale firm on Monday about their World Bank investigation report, three people familiar with the plans said. The report alleged that Georgieva, as the bank's CEO in 2017, applied undue pressure on staff to alter data in the flagship "Doing Business" report to benefit China.

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The International Monetary Fund’s executive board will intensify its probe of Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva this week by separately interviewing her and investigators who said she pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favor China, people with knowledge of the meetings said.

The board will question lawyers from the WilmerHale firm on Monday about their World Bank investigation report, three people familiar with the plans said. The report alleged that Georgieva, as the bank’s CEO in 2017, applied undue pressure on staff to alter data in the flagship “Doing Business” report to benefit China.

Georgieva, who has strongly denied the accusations, will appear in person before the board on Tuesday, the day she is to deliver a virtual speech about the IMF and World Bank annual meetings Oct. 11-17, two of the sources said.

The interviews could prove pivotal in either building or eroding IMF shareholder support for Georgieva.

Thus far, the fund’s most influential member governments, including top shareholder the United States, have withheld public comment, preferring to let the review process play out. Britain last week said in a statement to Reuters that it supports transparency in the matter.

The World Bank tasked WilmerHale with investigating the “Doing Business” data irregularities identified in 2020, issuing its findings implicating Georgieva just over two weeks ago. The probe has been led by former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen, who is co-chair of WilmerHale’s white collar defense and investigations practice.

The investigation’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.

Ref: Yahoo News 

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