Broad directors of the International Monetary Fund are working with a law firm with its probe on the now Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva over ethical conduct back when she worked for World Bank.
Law firm WilmerHale last month said it found ample evidence that Kristalina Georgieva, then-Chief Executive of World Bank, and other officials have forced staff to manipulate data in the 2018 and 2020 “Doing Business” reports that increased China’s rating, Reuters reported.
As of Monday, Oct. 4, attorneys of WilmerHale had briefed the IMF executive board to discuss the matters of the probe, according to the Associated Press. IMF said in a statement that the directors “remains committed to a thorough, objective and timely review” of the probe.
As Reuters updated, the IMF board will interview Georgieva as soon as Wednesday about what WilmerHale has found.
The outlet noted many IMF shareholders were eager to finish up discussions on the topic before next week’s high-profile meetings.
Georgieva, who was under pressure to depart her position after the probe’s findings, has insisted on her innocence.
“Let me be clear. The conclusions are wrong. I did not pressure anyone to alter any reports,” she said, per AP.
Initially, World Bank hired WilmerHale this January to investigate data irregularities that emerged in the “Doing Business” 2020 report.
As of Sept. 16, the law firm concluded that it was Georgieva, in addition to former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who had a hand in changing the data.
According to WilmerHale, the modifications to the 2018 “Doing Business” report occurred when the company sought China’s approval for a significant capital expansion. After the U.S. and Japan, China is the bank’s third-largest stakeholder.
WilmerHale’s conclusions have served to highlight concerns that China wields too much power over global financial institutions.
Following the probe, World Bank has terminated its yearly “Doing Business” report over “ethical matters.”
“After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report,” the organization said in a statement.
“Doing Business” is an annual assessment of global business conditions by the World Bank. It rates countries based on how easy or difficult it is to register a business, legally execute a contract, handle bankruptcy, secure an electricity connection, or obtain construction permits.
AP explained that high ranking in the report would help countries attract more international companies and investors to invest in them, install manufacturing plants, or sell products.