World Bank top officials pushed staffers to boost China ranking: Report

ANIUpdated: Saturday, September 18, 2021, 06:59 PM IST
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An independent investigation commissioned by the World Bank has found that its top officials placed "undue pressure" on staffers to alter data to inflate the rankings for China and Saudi Arabia in 2018 and 2020 editions of the report, according to the US media.

WilmerHale -- the law firm commissioned by the World Bank to conduct probe -- found that then-CEO Kristalina Georgieva pressured the Doing Business team in 2017 to "change the report's methodology" or "make specific changes" to data points to boost China's ranking in the 2018 edition, CNN reported on Friday.

Law firm WilmerHale was commissioned by the World Bank to conduct the probe.

According to WilmerHale's 16-page investigation, Chinese government officials repeatedly expressed concerns to Georgieva and Jim Yong Kim, then-World Bank president, over the country's ranking.

The probe revealed that Georgieva was in the middle of negotiations over a capital increase campaign, in which China "was expected to play a key role".

The investigation stated that Georgieva was "directly involved" in improving China's ranking.

During a meeting, Georgieva had "chastised the Bank's then-Country Director for mismanaging the Bank's relationship with China and failing to appreciate the importance of the Doing Business report to the country," according to CNN.

Following allegations of irregularities, the World Bank on Thursday had decided to discontinue publication of its Doing Business report.

"After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today (Thursday) on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report," World Bank said in a statement posted on the website.

The Doing Business report assesses regulatory environments, ease of business startups, infrastructure and other business climate measures.

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