The International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to keep the Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva in the position of managing director of the institution. The head of the creditor has been at the center of a controversy since September, when she was accused of pushing for changes to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2018” report to benefit China. She denies any wrongdoing.
After a review of the complaint, the Executive Council of the fund, made up of 24 members, reaffirmed this Monday, 11, that it has “complete confidence” in Georgieva.
“The Executive Board considered that the information presented in the course of its review did not conclusively demonstrate that the managing director played an improper role in relation to the ‘Doing Business 2018’ report when she was CEO of the World Bank,” says an IMF statement .
In recent weeks, advisers have met eight times to discuss the charges against Georgieva. “After reviewing all the evidence presented, the Executive Board reaffirms its full confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership and in her ability to continue to effectively perform her duties,” states another excerpt of the note.
The executive board also emphasizes that it trusts in the “impartiality” and “analytical excellence” of the IMF staff. “At the same time, the Executive Council plans to meet to consider possible additional measures to ensure the strength of institutional safeguards in these areas.”
The investigation, which went public on Sept. 16, was requested by the World Bank’s ethics committee from the law firm WilmerHale, whose representatives also recently met with IMF advisers.
The document released by the World Bank, with the results of the inquiry made by WilmerHale, said that Georgieva had pressed for specific changes in China’s score on certain data, in an effort to increase the position of the Asian country in the 2018 report.
According to the note, there were expectations at that time that China would play a crucial role in the World Bank’s capital increase campaign. Georgieva served as executive director of the organization between 2017 and 2019, before taking up her current position at the IMF.
She, however, denied the charges. “I fundamentally disagree with the findings and interpretations made by the Data Irregularity Investigation regarding my role in the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business report,” said Georgieva in a statement released on the same day the investigation came to light.
After the controversy, “Doing Business” was discontinued. The report analyzed quantitative data to compare the regulatory environment for business activities in 190 countries. The decision of the Executive Board of the IMF takes place on the same day that the annual meeting of the creditor body and the World Bank began. Georgieva, 53, is the first person born in an emerging country to head the IMF since the institution’s founding in 1944.
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