(Bloomberg) — European governments tend to back International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva as the bank’s board prepares to make an imminent decision on his future after allegations of improper actions during his tenure at the World Bank, according to European officials.
A French finance ministry official said a review of the case by the Wilmerhill law firm did not provide details of specific elements to directly challenge Georgieva’s conduct, which is why France supports her.
Another European official, who asked not to be named, said that countries such as France and the United Kingdom are among the countries that continue to support the IMF chief because they see no clear evidence against her.
The Executive Board, made up of 24 directors representing 190 member states, could take a decision as early as Monday to prevent the crisis from affecting the IMF’s credibility as a global lender. Conversations with WilmerHale on Sunday afternoon lasted several hours, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Politics will play an important role in Georgieva’s fate, and the outcome will likely depend on what European support she will eventually receive if the United States presses for her removal.
Bloomberg reported last week that US Treasury officials were discussing whether the Biden administration should ask the Bulgarian to resign on moral grounds. A Treasury spokeswoman said the department will make a decision once the review is complete.
While the United States is the IMF’s largest contributor, France has traditionally had a significant influence on the selection of the Managing Director. Five of the IMF directors were French, and even when the country did not reach the highest position, it played a key role in determining who got it.
The US decision to challenge France for leadership of the International Monetary Fund could reignite tensions between the two countries, after recent disagreements over a defense pact with the UK and Australia mean the latter has waived a billionaire submarine contract with France.
IMF board members discuss an audit the law firm conducted for the World Bank, based on a review of 80,000 documents and more than 30 interviews.
The review accuses Georgieva of pressuring employees to manipulate data in the annual Doing Business report in favor of China when she was a senior official at the development bank. Georgieva, who joined the International Monetary Fund in 2019, has denied any wrongdoing.
A finance ministry official said France wants to make the decision on the future of the managing director very soon, a position that Germany also shares.
What will make Europe’s job in Georgieva’s defense even more difficult will be revealing more harmful details that would make her a political burden, two Italian officials said, which they said their government supports the Director-General so far.
Nota Original: The IMF will likely get Europe’s support to decide its future
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