This month, two vice-presidents of the Czech National Bank (CNB) have made very serious allegations against the International Monetary Fund. Below is the summary of their claims so far:
- Speaking to the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard on April 2, Mojmir Hampl, the vice-president of the CNB, said that the IMF under Dominique Strauss-Kahn “wanted to expand its role in Eastern Europe and obtain new financial resources.” Hampl claimed that the IMF exaggerated problems with the financial systems in Eastern Europe. “We have always emphasized that the instability of the financial system [in 2008] was a Western European problem. That proved correct… According to a recent EU report, only nine out of 27 EU member states did not have to introduce any financial stabilization measures [during the crisis]. All nine were new [mostly Eastern European] member states.”
- Hampl’s claim was echoed by his colleague, CNB vice-president Miroslav Singer, in today’s edition of the Czech daily Hospodarske Noviny. According to Singer, “I cannot say nice things about the IMF’s role in the 2008 crisis.” The Financial Times, Singer continued, carried a lot of nonsensical stories about the state of the Czech financial sector prior to the crisis. Instead of dispelling those stories, the IMF produced a study about the Czech Republic based on incorrect data and then leaked it to the Financial Times. “It is difficult to be certain… that the IMF wanted to harm the Czechs, Slovaks or Poles on purpose… More likely it was a combination of panic, lack of expertise and a desire to see problems everywhere.”
If true, these claims raise troubling questions about the incentives behind the largest increase of resources in the Fund’s history.