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Probe found 'undue pressure' from World Bank leaders to boost China business rankings

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An investigation conducted by law firm Wilmerhale concluded that leaders of the World Bank applied "undue pressure" to secure changes aimed at improving China's ranking in the bank's "Doing Business 2018" and those of other countries in the 2020 report.

The report cited "direct and indirect pressure" from senior staff in the office of then-World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to change the report's methodology to boost China's score, and said it likely occurred at his direction.

It said it found that then-CEO Kristalina Georgieva, now the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and a key adviser pressured staff to "make specific changes to China's data points" and boost its ranking, at a time when the bank was seeking China's support for a big capital increase.

Georgieva, in a statement, rejected the findings of the probe and said she had met with the IMF's executive board to discuss the matter.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder)

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