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Does the IMF/World Bank owe Wolfowitz an Apology?

This is a guest post by Andrew Murphy

Now that the current IMF chief, Dominquie Strauss-Kahn has been caught again in a sex scandal with his pants down, this time accused of attempting to rape a maid in New York City at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan, it would appear that the impression we all had that the IMF/World Bank were puritanical prudes must be all wrong.

In 2007, Strauss-Kahn was accused of rape by French journalist Tristane Banon and in 2008, an economist Piroska Nagy acknowledged an affair with Strauss-Kahn. All of this while he was the chief of the IMF. Simply amazing stuff.

Let’s turn the clock back again to 2007 when Paul Wolfowitz was forced out of the directorship of the World Bank because his significant other was an employee of the same institution and had received a raise. Good God, the very idea that two World Bank employees were rolling around in the hay in the Garden of Eros after hours was just horrific and too much for the apparatchiks of the Governing Board of the World Bank.

It was of course all window dressing to cover the fact that Wolfowitz’s great crime was he was an appointment by an unpopular US Administration. At worst, it was misogynist that the very idea that the very talented Shaha Riza did not earn her promotion based on merit but she got it because she was ‘sleeping with the boss.’

Riza had been an employee with the Bank since 1999 and who’s work had been praised by most quarters including Palestinian activists such as Sari Nusseibeh. Not only did Riza not report directly to Wolfowitz as an employee of the Bank but before taking the job at the Bank, Wolfowitz had disclosed his relationship with Riza. In essence it was a non issue

As Christopher Hitchens duly noted at the time of the “scandal”

In what is an amazing breach of ordinary media etiquette (where longstanding unmarried couples are routinely described as being “partners” or sometimes “companions”), this very reserved and private lady has been called—in reputable newspapers—not only a “mistress” but a “girlfriend.” One really is compelled to ask whether there is any decency left.”

None of us should hold our breath because no apology will be forthcoming from the World Bank/IMF governing boards but the very idea that the IMF would appoint somebody with the reputation of a sexual predator and from who the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche dubbed as the ‘Great Seducer” but when it comes to Paul Wolfowitz, the president of the Bank must have the sexual morals of a monk seems rather laughable and Q.E.D. proof that Wolfowitz had to pay for the sins of George W Bush

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