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Former World Bank official says Wolfowitz acted 'incorrectly' in girlfriend's pay package

Former World Bank official says Wolfowitz acted 'incorrectly' in girlfriend's pay package

The former top lawyer at the World Bank says he believes its president, Paul Wolfowitz, acted "incorrectly" in helping arrange the hefty compensation package for a bank employee who was also his girlfriend.
Robert Danino, in a written statement late Monday to a special bank panel looking into the 2005 promotion and pay package of Shaha Riza, said that he was not aware of details about what Danino called an "extraordinary salary increase" for Riza when he served as the bank's general counsel.
"I did not learn of these actions prior to my departure from the bank in January 2006," Danino said in the statement.
Danino said he believed Wolfowitz "acted incorrectly" in helping to arrange Riza's pay package. He said the situation has "badly hurt the morale of the staff, damaged the reputation of the bank and eroded his (Wolfowitz) moral authority to lead the bank."
The panel was expected to resume its closed-door work on Tuesday.
Wolfowitz, who appeared before the panel on Monday, said that he acted in good faith and that the bank's ethics committee has access to all the details surround the arrangement "if they wanted it." He likened the controversy which has prompted calls for his resignation to a "smear campaign" against him.
Wolfowitz, in his remarks on Monday, said he rejected a suggestion by the bank's human resources chief to involve Danino in the negotiations involving Riza. "I assumed that Mr. Danino, as adviser to the ethics committee, would participate in their final review of the outcome of the negotiations, and I assume that he did so," Wolfowitz said.
The bank's 24-member board will ultimately decide what action, if any, should be taken.
Riza was working at the bank for eight years when Wolfowitz arrived in 2005. She had earned close to $133,000 (euro97,760 a year as a communications adviser in the bank's Middle East department. She was reassigned at the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest but remained on the bank's payroll. Her pay eventually rose to$193,590 (euro142,300).
Riza, a British citizen who joined the bank in 1998, also appeared before the special panel on Monday. She said she did not want to move in the first place, defended her pay as being within the same range as employees at the same grade level and said the ensuing "media circus" has hurt her career and her personal well being.


Updated : 2021-06-20 17:30 GMT+08:00