International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva was fighting for her professional life Saturday as the institution’s Executive Board considers evidence she manipulated data in favor of China while in a senior role at the World Bank, according to France 24.
The board said after a meeting Friday it will decide “very soon” whether she keeps her job, and could meet again on Saturday, a source close to the matter said on condition of anonymity.
The review pertains to an investigation by the law firm WilmerHale that found that during her time as World Bank CEO, Georgieva was among top officials who pressured staff into changing data to China’s benefit in the 2018 edition of its closely watched Doing Business report.
The board said it had made “significant progress” in its assessment of the case but agreed “to request more clarifying details with a view to very soon concluding its consideration of the matter.”
“I am pleased that I finally had the opportunity to explain to the IMF Board my role in the Doing Business report and how I respected the integrity of the report,” she said, adding that “I look forward to an expeditious resolution of the matter.”
The law firm found that Georgieva, along with her associate Simeon Djankov, a former Bulgarian finance minister who created the report, and Jim Yong Kim, then-president of the bank, pressured staff to change the calculation of China’s ranking to avoid angering Beijing.
The push came while bank leadership was engaged in sensitive negotiations with Beijing over increasing the bank’s lending capital.
According to the investigation, Beijing complained about its ranking of 78th on the list in 2017, and the next year’s report would have shown Beijing dropping even further.
In the final weeks before the report was released at the end of October 2017, Kim and Georgieva asked staff to look into updating the methodology in regard to China, according to the WilmerHale investigation.
Following the accusations, the World Bank scrapped its Doing Business report, which ranked nations based on their investment climate.