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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:17, May 16, 2007
Angry Wolfowitz in four-letter tirade
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An angry and bitter Paul Wolfowitz poured abuse and threatened retaliation on senior World Bank staff if his orders for pay rises and promotions for his partner were revealed, according to new details published on Monday.

Under fire for the lavish package given to Shaha Riza, a World Bank employee and Wolfowitz's girlfriend when he became president, an official investigation into the controversy has found that Wolfowitz broke bank rules and violated his own contract - setting off a struggle between US and European governments over his future.

Sounding more like a cast member of the Sopranos than an international leader, in testimony by one key witness, Wolfowitz declares: "If they f*** with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to f*** them too."

The remarks were published in a report detailing the controversy that erupted last month after the size of Riza's pay rises was revealed. The report slates Wolfowitz for his "questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest", saying: "Mr Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply."

The report brushed off Wolfowitz's defense that he thought he had been asked to arrange Riza's pay package, observing that "the interpretation given by Mr Wolfowitz ... simply turns logic on its head".

The investigators have sent their completed report to the bank's governing board, containing a string of withering criticisms of Wolfowitz's behavior.

The report also cast doubt on his ability to continue running the bank, a multibillion-dollar international agency with 12,000 staff based in Washington.

According to the report, Wolfowitz's actions "had a dramatic negative effect on the reputation and credibility" of the bank.

It concluded that "the damage done to the reputation of the World Bank group" should lead the bank's board to "consider whether Mr Wolfowitz will be able to provide the leadership needed to ensure that the bank continues to operate to the fullest extent possible".

It also said: "Mr Wolfowitz's contract requiring that he adhere to the code of conduct for board officials and that he avoid any conflict of interest, real or apparent, (was) violated."

Despite the weeks of turmoil within the bank, Wolfowitz may still keep his job if the US government is prepared to stick by him.

Wolfowitz still enjoys support from the Bush administration, where he served as deputy defense secretary at the Pentagon during the invasion of Iraq.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said yesterday: "We've made clear that we support Paul Wolfowitz. Furthermore, he has said - and we agree - that certainly a lot of mistakes were made in the personnel process. But it's not a firing offense."

On Monday, US Vice-President Dick Cheney defended Wolfowitz, saying: "Paul is one of the most able public servants I've ever known ... I think he's a very good president of the World Bank, and I hope he will be able to continue."

Source: China Daily/agencies

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