EDITOR'S NOTE: Despite the very real possibility that, while at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) president Kristalina Georgieva colluded to present false reports in order to make the Chinese economy look stronger, she remains the head of the IMF. Central Banking reports that “Evidence did not ‘conclusively demonstrate’ the IMF chief played an ‘improper role.’” This is what the IMF executive board decided after eight “marathon” meetings about Georgieva’s future. This is despite the fact that U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has raised “legitimate issues and concerns” about the ethically compromised IMF leader.
Evidence did not “conclusively demonstrate” the IMF chief played an “improper role”.
Photo: Central Banking
Kristalina Georgieva will remain as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, after marathon board meetings concluded there was not sufficient evidence against her.
After eight meetings to consider the issue, the IMF executive board concluded the evidence against Georgieva did not “conclusively demonstrate” that she had played an “improper role” in the preparation of the 2018 World Bank “Doing Business” rankings. The decision came just as the IMF annual meetings were kicking off, with many sessions due to be chaired by the managing director.
Georgieva was accused of pressuring staff during her time as World Bank chief executive to adjust data for the Doing Business rankings to cast China in a more flattering light. An independent investigation by US law firm Wilmer Hale said she had been worried that China would block an upgrade of the World Bank’s capital.
“Having looked at all the evidence presented, the executive board reaffirms its full confidence in the managing director’s leadership and ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties,” the IMF said in a statement on October 11.
Georgieva issued her own statement via a PR firm, stating that the executive board’s conclusion demonstrated that the allegations against her were “unfounded”. “Trust and integrity are the cornerstones of the multinational organisations that I have faithfully served for more than four decades,” she said.
But US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen made it clear that she considered the Wilmer Hale report to have raised “legitimate issues and concerns”. She promised the US would continue to scrutinise IMF governance, and “evaluate any new facts or findings”.
“Absent further direct evidence with regard to the role of the managing director there is not a basis for a change in IMF leadership,” Yellen said in a statement. However, she added that the US “believes proactive steps must be taken to reinforce data integrity and credibility at the IMF”.
The IMF executive board said it would meet to discuss “additional steps” to strengthen “institutional safeguards” on the integrity of data, research and operations at the fund.
The World Bank has axed the Doing Business report and is conducting its own investigation into possible staff misconduct. The Wilmer Hale report highlighted in particular the actions of Simeon Djankov, who Georgieva appointed to oversee the Doing Business report.
Wilmer Hale interviewed employees who accused Djankov of creating a culture of fear. “Nearly every Doing Business employee with whom we spoke described the environment on the Doing Business team under the management of Mr Djankov to be, at best, deeply problematic, and, at worst, emotionally harrowing,” the report said.
Djankov did not respond to a request for comment.
Originally posted on Central Banking.