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IMF's Lagarde Summoned on Bankia, Stonewalls on Sri Lanka & Serbia, Bolivia Suit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 – The International Monetary Fund on Thursday claimed no one could accuse them of “lack of candor or transparency.” Then IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice in his biweekly embargoed briefing said that in Egypt the IMF remains in touch with unnamed technical experts.

But an Inner City Press question about Bolivia's Evo Morales saying his country might sue the IMF for damages went unanswered.

Rice said Managing Director Christine Lagarde has written back to the president of Cyprus, but offered only paraphrased pablum about welcoming the president's determination to stay on the path of sustainable growth.

An Inner City Press question about Lagarde being summoned as a witness in a court case about the failure of Bankia by the Spanish political party Union, Progress & Democracy likewise went unanswered. What was that again, about candor and transparency?

  Euphemisms like electrical price “adjustment” was applied by Rice to Pakistan, but a Press request to explain what the IMF's resident representative in Serbia Bogdan Lissovolik meant in proposing a “solidarity tax” went unanswered.

  And in a visit to Sri Lanka, IMF Asia Pacific chief Anoop Singh was quoted by the government offering fulsome praise. There are obvious Sri Lanka issues, as the Commonwealth is finding. But these questions, the IMF does not answer. Their last answer to Inner City Press on Sri Lanka, from Gita Bhatt:

Matthew:   We have nothing more to offer than what I mentioned in my last email to you—along with the latest press release I attached.  A bit puzzled by your question—and not sure where you are headed.   An IMF-supported program could have helped Sri Lanka build up their reserves and, more importantly, boost market confidence. The mission and the authorities explored the possibility of a new IMF program designed to build on Sri Lanka’s achievements under the SBA. Productive discussions took place on a number of issues, including further fiscal and related reforms that would consolidate and extend these achievements.   However, the authorities announced that they were not continuing negotiations with us since they wanted our assistance only if it was in the form of budget support, which we were not able to provide. From our side, we had some concerns about the budget, and in particular about weak government revenues, that would in any case have required substantial further discussion. The mission and the authorities will stay in close touch and continue the close partnership between Sri Lanka and the IMF
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