World Bank Hires Washington Law Firm to Probe Leaks

12 April 2007

Almost 10 weeks after announcing plans to investigate leaks of internal documents to Fox News, the World Bank has hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to conduct the probe, according to an announcement made internally April 9.

The firm of Williams & Connolly has been selected to examine not only the first leak, of board minutes, but also a subsequent leak of a sensitive e-mail. The message to a top Bank staffer concerned Chinese government disagreement with a Bank plan for tightening sanctions as part of its new anti-corruption strategy.

The leaked e-mail was the basis for a March 26 story on Fox News by Richard Behar. “MOF [China’s Ministry of Finance ] is very concerned,” warns the March 12 e-mail, published by Fox and written by the Bank’s China manager, Hsiao-Yun Elaine Sun. The e-mail was dispatched to 24 staffers in Washington and Asia, according to the Fox, and suggests that China might halt future borrowings.

Previously Fox obtained and published the minutes of a Jan. 8 board committee meeting in a Jan. 31 story. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Feb. 1 announced his intention to conduct an investigation. Weeks later, Bank officials said they would be seeking outside counsel to handle the investigation.

By Toby McIntosh

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Filed under: IFTI Watch


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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