WASHINGTON, Oct.9 (Reuters) – The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund will meet again on Sunday with chief executive Kristalina Georgieva and the law firm which says it pressured World Bank staff to changes the data to benefit China while serving as the bank’s CEO, according to people familiar with the plan.
A decision on Georgieva’s future at the global lender isn’t expected until Monday, at the earliest, as finance ministers and other senior officials from many of the IMF’s 190 member countries meet in Washington to the annual fall meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, one of the sources said.
The IMF’s board debated the issue for five hours on Friday before adjourning and asking for more “clarification.”
The scandal threatens to overshadow high-level meetings, where officials plan to discuss the global economy, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and global tax issues in discussions that will be held in part in person and in line.
In normal years, the event draws some 10,000 people to Washington.
Georgieva has firmly denied the allegations, which date back to 2017, when she was managing director of the World Bank. His lawyer says the investigation by law firm WilmerHale partly violated World Bank staff rules by denying him an opportunity to respond to the charges, a claim WilmerHale disputes.
Georgieva and WilmerHale’s lawyers will appear separately at Sunday’s board meeting, the sources said, who requested anonymity. No comment was immediately available from Georgieva or the cabinet.
France and some other European governments on Friday backed the Bulgarian economist to remain IMF chief, while other officials called for more time to compare his accounts and those of the law firm on the irregularities in data from the now-canceled flagship product of the World Bank, “Doing Business.” report.
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown tweeted his support on Friday, calling Georgieva an “outstanding international civil servant … who served with distinction as commissioner and vice-chairman of the @EU_Commission, then chief executive of @WorldBank and now chief. by @FMINews. “
The US Treasury, which controls 16.5% of IMF shares, declined to comment after Friday’s meeting.
Treasury spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said this week that the department had “campaigned for thorough and fair accounting of all the facts” of the review, stressing its concern to preserve “the integrity of international financial institutions” .
WilmerHale’s investigative report prepared for the World Bank board alleged that when Georgieva was CEO of the World Bank in 2017, she put “undue pressure” on bank staff to make changes to “Doing Business” report data in order to strengthen the ranking of China’s business climate as a bank sought Beijing’s support for a large capital increase.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder Editing by Paul Simao
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