France says IMF ethics committee should look into report on China's ranking

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France says IMF ethics committee should look into report on China's ranking

PARIS Reuters - The International Monetary Fund's ethics committee and board should look into a report alleging its Chief Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff to boost China's ranking in a flagship report while at the World Bank, a French finance ministry source said on Friday.

Since 2019, Georgieva has headed the IMF where it saw its role ramped up, with $650 billion in new special Drawing Rights, its quasi-currency, being distributed as part of a drive to help combat the economic damage inflicted by COVID - 19.

The independent report is not a judgement and the IMF ethics committee and board must study the report, listen to the management director and present its conclusions, the finance ministry source said.

It's on this basis that France will be able to fully assess the situation, the source said in reaction to the report prepared by an outside law firm at the request of the World Bank ethics committee.

Georgieva has said that she disagrees with the findings and interpretation of the report, but it has hurt her reputation just weeks before an annual meeting of global finance chiefs.

The results of the independent investigation, published on Thursday, said World Bank leaders – including then-chief executive Georgieva applying undue pressure to staff to boost China's ranking in the Bank's Doing Business 2018 report.

At the time, the Washington-based Closed Loan (MLR) was seeking Beijing's support for a big capital increase.

The world bank said that it will cancel the report series, which has been running since 2003, dismaying investors who rely on it to help them assess country risk.

The U.S. Treasury Department, which manages the dominant shareholdings in the IMF and the World Bank, said it was analysing what it called the report's serious findings Officials from Japan, another key donor to both institutions, were talking to counterparts in other countries about the report's findings, a government source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Georgieva's report comes nearly two years after he took over the IMF Chief, shortly before the biggest global economic crisis in its history 76 - year old - Bulgarian prompted by the COVID - 19 pandemic.