An internal investigation by the China-based multilateral development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), has dismissed allegations made by a whistleblower regarding a toxic culture and dominance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The bank released a statement on Friday stating that its internal review has found that it adheres to the “highest standards of multilateral governance” and that its governance is operating as intended.
General Counsel Alberto Ninio stated that there is no evidence to support the claims made by the former employee and affirmed that the bank’s governance structure functions as intended to ensure an apolitical, constructive, balanced, and consensus-oriented decision-making culture. However, the internal review did highlight a number of recommendations, including the need to strengthen pre-recruitment screening and staff grievance procedures.
The former communications director of AIIB, Bob Pickard, had announced his resignation through a social media post, accusing the bank of being dominated by CCP members and fostering an extremely toxic culture. Pickard, who hails from Canada, expressed his belief that his country’s interests were not served by its AIIB membership. The allegations were vehemently denied by the AIIB, dismissing them as baseless and disappointing.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who serves as AIIB governor, declared that Ottawa would suspend its ties with the bank pending a thorough review in response to the allegations. Meanwhile, Pickard chose not to participate in the internal review, citing a lack of independence and expressing doubt that it would provide any meaningful outcome.
Established in 2016 by Chinese President Xi Jinping as an alternative to Western lenders such as the World Bank, the AIIB has faced criticism from the United States, which viewed it as a tool for expanding Beijing’s global influence. With over 100 member countries, the AIIB has financed projects amounting to $37 billion in various nations, including India, Pakistan, Turkey, and the Philippines, according to S&P Global Ratings.
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