Multilateral Development Banks

Dutch Rub-Out

(April 30, 2007) Verdict first, trial later: the real disgrace here isn’t Mr. Wolfowitz or Ms. Riza but the World Bank itself and its self-protecting staff and European directors.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz faces an “ad hoc committee” investigating his alleged ethics violations today, but it seems the committee has reached its conclusions even before he has a chance to defend himself. This fits the pattern of what is ever more clearly a Euro-railroad job.

On Saturday, the Washington Post cited “three senior bank officials” as saying that the committee has “nearly completed a report” concluding that Mr. Wolfowitz “breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend.” The Post also reported that, “According to bank officials, the timing of the committee’s report and its conclusions have been choreographed for maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to persuade Wolfowitz to go.” So there it is from the plotters themselves: Verdict first, trial later.

None of this is surprising when you consider that the “ad hoc committee” is dominated by Europeans who have been leading the campaign to oust Mr. Wolfowitz. Four of the committee’s seven members are European, including its Dutch chairman, a Frenchman, Norwegian and Russian. The others hail from Ethiopia, Mexico and China, but the Europeans have the majority and are running this railroad.

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Wall Street Journal Opinion, April 30, 2007

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