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IMF board gets initial briefing on Georgieva role in China data rigging scandal

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FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a news conference in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said its executive board met on Tuesday to discuss a report prepared for the World Bank alleging that IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff to alter data to favor China while serving as the bank's CEO.

The board agreed to meet again soon for further discussions, an IMF spokesperson said, but gave no specific date.

"The Board discussed the Ethics Committee’s deliberations so far and had a preliminary exchange of views on the report and the Managing Director’s statement in response to it," the spokesperson said.

The board emphasized "the importance it attached to conducting a thorough, objective, and timely review and agreed to meet again soon for a further discussion," the spokesperson said.

Georgieva on Friday denied allegations that she pressured World Bank staff to alter data as it prepared its Doing Business 2018 report on country business climates.

"Let me put it very simply to you. Not true. Neither in this case, nor before or after, I have put pressure on staff to manipulate data," Georgieva told IMF staff, according to a transcript of the meeting provided to Reuters.

The investigative report, prepared by the law firm WilmerHale at the request of the World Bank's ethics committee, found that Georgieva and other senior World Bank officials applied "undue pressure" on staff to boost China's ranking in terms of business climate.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Richard Pullin)

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