WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The second-ranking U.S. Treasury official told senators on Tuesday that the agency would hold International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva accountable for changes needed to safeguard IMF integrity in the wake of a World Bank data-rigging scandal.
“We did not find that it was appropriate at this point to remove the (IMF) managing director,” Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing.
“But we did make very clear during those meetings, and directly to the managing director that changes need to be made to ensure whistleblowers’ rights are protected and that the integrity of the institutions are protected, which is our overarching goal,” Adeyemo said.
Adeyemo’s comments underscored the Biden administration’s continued pressure on Georgieva after the IMF executive board last week cleared her of wrongdoing following allegations.
that when she was World Bank chief executive in 2017, she put “undue pressure” on bank staff to make data changes to boost China’s ranking in the now-canceled “Doing Business” report.
“We will be holding her and the other leaders of the international financial institutions accountable for making these changes,” Adeyemo said.
A probe of “Doing Business” data irregularities, by law firm WilmerHale, is continuing and the firm is expected to issue a second report on potential misconduct by World Bank staff.
Adeyemo’s boss, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, last week during IMF and World Bank annual meetings, called for strong action by the two institutions to protect data integrity and prevent misconduct in the wake of the scandal.
Georgieva told Reuters last week that the IMF has robust controls and a strong internal protections for whistleblowers, but would work with staff to strengthen the Fund’s credibility.
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Steve Orlofsky)