IMF chief undermined after being accused of influencing China rankings

Kristalina Georgieva risks seeing her authority as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) undermined just weeks before an annual meeting of global finance chiefs after being accused of influencing a report in Chinas favour when she worked at the World Bank, Bloomberg reported.

The substance of the charge, putting “undue pressure” on World Bank staff to adjust the rating in the “Doing Business” report when she served as chief executive officer,was the latest in a series of scandals that have plagued the troubled report in recent years.

So beleaguered, subjective and controversial is the methodology for the report, which measures the ease and transparency of operating in an economy, that the World Bank announced it will stop producing it, the report added.

The ranking that she is accused of pressuring staff to improve is that of China, a magnet for criticism in Washington over everything from trade to geopolitics.

The US Treasury Department sees the accusations as serious and is “analysing the report”.

The Department said the US holds veto power over major IMF and World Bank decisions.

Republican lawmakers could use the issue to renew criticism of an expansion in IMF resources under Georgieva’s leadership.

Representative French Hill, an Arkansas Republican and one of the most outspoken Congressional critics of last month’s IMF reserves issuance, said that the report raises serious questions about Georgieva’s motivations during her time at the World Bank, Bloomberg said.

Justin Sandefur, a senior fellow and World Bank watcher at the Center for Global Development, a think-tank, said the report could end up affecting her relationship with IMF members.