Friday, October 29, 2021
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US law firm accuses China of manipulating ease of doing business rankings

No irregularities were found in Indian data, the probe shows adding the country remains a preferred, reliable, and trustworthy investment destination

In a shocking revelation, a global US law firm WilmerHale has found China’s involvement in massive data manipulation to hide slippage in the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings.

According to the latest report released by the US firm, no irregularities were found in Indian data, the probe shows adding the country remains a preferred, reliable, and trustworthy investment destination for the world.

Last week, the World Bank decided to discontinue publication of its EODB report following allegations of data irregularities due to pressure by some top bank officials to boost China’s ranking in 2017.

The report assesses regulatory environments, ease of business startups, infrastructure, and other business climate measures. The law firm WilmerHale studied 80,000 documents and used extensive interviews to compile its report on 2018 and 2020 EODB rankings.

According to the law firm, during a sensitive capital raising year of 2017, China was able to leverage its clout and pressurise WB top management into reversing their ranking fall which would have otherwise fallen from 78 to 85.

On instructions from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and then-Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva, the Doing Business team was instructed to recalculate China’s number to keep the rank at 78.

“The entire episode once again exposes rampant fraud on which Chinese data is built and the integrity of Indian statistics. China has actively defrauded the world’s investors to hide their worsening investment climate,” the probe report said.

Besides, due to extensive paid contracts given to the World Bank by the Saudi Arabia government in the list of top improvers of 2020, the Doing Business team altered data to put Saudi Arabia on top instead of Jordan.

Last-minute changes were also made to the methodology on Protecting Minority Investors indicator, thereby damaging Azerbaijan’s score and decreasing its ranking. This was done due to the personal bias of World Bank staffers against the country.

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