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Probe claims IMF chief put on pressure to boost China’s rank in World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report

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Report: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva disagrees with the findings of the World Bank probe. Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Report: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva disagrees with the findings of the World Bank probe. Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Report: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva disagrees with the findings of the World Bank probe. Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva was called out Thursday for applying pressure, when she was at the World Bank, to boost China's position in a ranking of economies.

Ms Georgieva said she disagreed with the findings.

The World Bank, in a probe of its "Doing Business" report, found such serious ethics issues that it decided to abandon the series entirely, a statement released in Washington showed Thursday.

China's position in the 2018 report, released in October 2017, should have been seven places lower – at number 85 rather than remaining at 78 – the World Bank said in a review released in December.

"The changes to China's data in Doing Business 2018 appear to be the product of two distinct types of pressure applied by bank leadership on the Doing Business team," the World Bank said in a report Thursday.

The bank cited Ms Georgieva, along with an adviser, for "pressure" to "make specific changes to China's data points in an effort to increase its ranking at precisely the same time the country was expected to play a key role in the bank's capital increase campaign".

Ms Georgieva served as chief executive officer of the World Bank prior to being chosen to succeed Christine Lagarde as head of the IMF, the development lender's partner in the Bretton Woods system.

"I disagree fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of the Investigation of data irregularities as it relates to my role in the World Bank's Doing Business report of 2018," Ms Georgieva said in a statement. "I have already had an initial briefing with the IMF's executive board on this matter."

The integrity of the Doing Business rankings have been the source of heated debate in recent years. In 2018, Paul Romer quit as the World Bank's chief economist after questioning changes to Chile's order in the report.


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