WASHINGTON: IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva is fully focused on global challenges, she said on Tuesday (Oct 12), after the fund’s executive board cleared her of claims that she pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favour China in her previous job.

“We have difficult problems to wrestle with and we need the strong standing of the institution to serve the membership,” Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist, told Reuters in an interview.

Georgieva, the first person from a developing country to head the International Monetary Fund, survived the threat to her leadership, but former US Treasury officials and other experts have warned that the scandal has dented the research reputation of both the IMF and the World Bank.

At issue was a damning assessment prepared by the law firm WilmerHale for the World Bank’s board about data irregularities discovered in a 2017 World Bank report.

The WilmerHale report alleged that Georgieva and other senior officials applied “undue pressure” on bank staff to make changes to boost China’s ranking. Georgieva has vehemently denied the accusations.

Some Republican lawmakers in the US Congress said more investigation was needed.

“It is outrageous that the Treasury Department gave in to pressure from other countries to bury the findings of the WilmerHale report, rather than fully investigate them and hold Ms Georgieva accountable,” said Representative Andy Barr, vowing to continue investigating “any undue Chinese influence”.

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