US Senators Call for “Full Accountability” in World Bank Data Controversy

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Reuters) – Top Democrats and Republicans on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee have urged President Joe Biden to “take full responsibility” for the World Bank data rigging controversy that has involved the director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva.

Panel chairman Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat, and Republican Senator James Risch, said in a letter released Monday that Biden should order the US Treasury Department to “exercise due diligence and, if necessary, ensure full responsibility. . “

Georgieva, who has been managing director of the IMF since April 2019, dismisses claims in an external World Bank investigative report that, when she was CEO of the bank in 2017, she exerted “undue pressure” on staff to change the data that boosted China. ranking in the World Bank’s flagship “Doing Business” report on countries’ investment climates.

Georgieva on Friday called the allegations against her “false and misleading” and accused the office of former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim of manipulating the data. .

European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis met Georgieva on Monday in Washington and released a Tweeter, saying: “Always good to see @KGeorgia from the IMF”, and that the IMF has shown “real leadership” in distributing currency reserves to member countries.

So far, the US Treasury Department – which controls dominant US stakes in both organizations – has said little on the matter beyond investigating the allegations against Georgieva.

Treasury spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna declined to comment on a Bloomberg report that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has refused to answer Georgieva’s calls since controversy erupted 10 days ago. A Georgieva personal spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

“As we have made clear, the Treasury considers the report’s findings to be serious and warranted a full review by the IMF of the Managing Director’s role in the Doing Business report,” LaManna said, echoing a statement made. shortly after the scandal broke. “Our primary responsibility is to maintain the integrity of international financial institutions.”

More prominent economists and women leaders have come to Georgieva’s defense with published opinion pieces and tweets, including Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, who wrote in the Financial Times that the allegation against Georgieva is “venial at first glance” and that ousting him would be “a dangerous and costly surrender to anti-Beijing hysteria. “.

“IMPETCHABLE” DATA

But Menendez and Risch called the allegations “deeply disturbing” and that the IMF and World Bank data should be considered “unassailable”, but they did not call for Georgieva’s resignation.

“At first glance, it is difficult to overstate the seriousness of the allegations that Ms. Georgieva is endangering the integrity of the data and the Bank to meet the needs of the Chinese government,” the senators wrote in a letter dated 22. September.

“The impact these allegations could have on the strength and reputation of our international financial institutions and the Bretton Woods system is still unknown – but they will surely not be good.”

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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