IMF's Georgieva in Hot Waters Over Data Manipulation Accusations

The International Monetary Fund's Board of Directors meets today to debate the fate of the Fund's Director-General, who is accused of rigging statistics in a report in favor of China.

  • Kristalina Georgieva
    Kristalina Georgieva

On Sunday, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Board of Directors is due to meet with representatives from the Wilmer Hale law firm. The firm had published an investigation revealing that the Fund's Director-General, Kristalina Georgieva, manipulated data in a report for the benefit of China while she was the executive director of the World Bank, as announced by a source familiar with the issue yesterday.

After Friday’s meeting, the IMF announced that notable progress had been made in its assessment of the issue, but it agreed to request more clarification details to reach a conclusion in the near future, according to a spokesperson. 

The Council met three times this week, on Wednesday and Friday, and again on Saturday, to discuss the fate of the Director-General of the IMF, who is accused of involvement in irregularities in the drafting of the Doing Business report issued by the World Bank for the years 2018 and 2020.

The United States preferred to remain silent

The report's authors accused Georgieva of pressuring staff when she was the World Bank's executive director to rank China in a better category. A source close to the file, asking not to be named, said on Friday that Georgieva has received the support of France and member states of the European Union.

On the other hand, the United States, an important member of the IMF, has not yet announced its position and seemed reluctant to give its consent, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Time is running out to settle this issue at a time when the IMF and the World Bank begin their two meetings in autumn. 

Georgieva, 68, remaining in her position as the head of the IMF became an issue following Wilmer Hale's mid-September investigation that was conducted at the request of the Ethics and Business Conduct Department. An economist of Bulgarian origin, Georgieva categorically denies the allegations attributed to her.

Georgieva for a quick settlement

During Friday's hearing before the board of directors of the IMF, Georgieva referred to inaccuracies and false assumptions made by the authors of the report. She said the investigation does not accurately describe her actions in relation to the 2018 Doing Business report.

She wished for a quick settlement that would preserve the strength of multilateral institutions, noting that these institutions had major tasks to be accomplished in light of an unprecedented crisis at the moment. The Doing Business report was suspended immediately after Wilmer Hill's findings were published.

Georgieva assumed the position of Managing Director of the IMF on October 1, 2019, succeeding Christine Lagarde, who was appointed as the head of the European Central Bank.