Treasury weighing asking IMF chief to resign over ethics scandal: report

Treasury weighing asking IMF chief to resign over ethics scandal: report
© Greg Nash

The Treasury Department is weighing whether the United States should request the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) chief to step down over an ethics scandal stemming from her time as chief executive for the World Bank, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva allegedly put pressure on World Bank's staff to adjust China’s ranking in the bank's "Doing Business 2018" report, according to the findings of a World Bank-commissioned investigation conducted by WilmerHale law firm.

In a 12-page statement that was prepared for the IMF executive board, Georgieva refuted the allegations that she was involved in attempts to distort China's ranking on the 2018 report.

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She alleged that she was not part of initial discussions between China and the World Bank regarding its standing in the report and argued that her role was confined to making sure the report came out on time and handling the its foreward section. She also denied allegations that she directed staff to change China's ranking.

Georgieva said in the prepared statement that the investigation "takes responsible actions and contorts them, making the worst and most 11 tenuous inferences possible about each event based on little direct evidence, and without taking into account my statements, professional history, or personal style."

The discussions within the Treasury Department are significant because the U.S. is the dominant shareholder of the IMF, with 16.5 percent of the votes. 

“There is a review currently underway with the IMF board and Treasury has pushed for a thorough and fair accounting of all the facts,” Treasury spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna told Bloomberg. “Our primary responsibility is to uphold the integrity of international financial institutions.”

A spokesperson for the IMF directed The Hill toward its Wednesday press release, which said its executive board spoke with Georgieva regarding the WilmerHale report and noted that “the Executive Board remains committed to a thorough, objective, and timely review and expects to meet again soon for further discussion.” 

The executive board is expected to meet again on Friday, when its directors may come to an agreement on Georgieva's future, a source told Bloomberg. 

The Hill has reached out to the Treasury Department and World Bank for comment.

—Updated Thursday at 6:12 p.m.