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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 01:01 GMT 02:01 UK
US 'expects Wolfowitz to stay on'
Shaha Riza
Ms Riza says she was forced to change jobs against her wishes
The US says it expects beleaguered World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz to remain in his position despite widespread criticism of his behaviour.

Mr Wolfowitz has been under pressure to quit after admitting helping his partner, Shaha Riza, win a promotion and hefty pay rise at the bank.

World Bank directors have vowed to make a speedy decision on his future.

The controversy has overshadowed this weekend's meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

'Victimised'

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Friday he had "very high regard" for Mr Wolfowitz.

"Paul Wolfowitz is a very dedicated public servant," Mr Paulson said.

The President has full confidence in Paul Wolfowitz
White House

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says Mr Wolfowitz is hanging on, but his position is looking very weak, with the White House the only player coming out squarely in his favour.

On Friday, the bank's executive board adjourned a day-long meeting to consider Mr Wolfowitz's future.

The group has pledged to "move expeditiously to reach a conclusion on possible actions to take".

Documents released by the bank also show that Ms Riza said she was forced to leave her job because of her close relationship with the bank's chief.

"I have now been victimised for agreeing to an arrangement that I have objected to and that I did not believe from the outset was in my best interest," she said in a note to the World Bank board.

When Mr Wolfowitz was appointed, Ms Riza was seconded to the US State Department to avoid creating a conflict of interest.

But rapid rises in her tax-free World Bank salary to about $193,000 - more than the $186,000 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice receives before tax - have raised questions.

'Out of line'

Initially Mr Wolfowitz denied any involvement in a decision about her salary. However he later admitted: "I made a mistake, for which I am sorry."

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz

The executive board of the World Bank has moved to distance itself from the scandal.

It said it had never given its approval for the wage rise for Ms Riza ordered by Mr Wolfowitz, despite claims to the contrary by the World Bank president.

Both World Bank staff and global development agencies have been demanding Mr Wolfowitz's resignation claiming his behaviour has undermined trust in the international lending agency.

The bank's staff association said the pay rises and promotions Ms Riza received were "grossly out of line" with bank rules, had destroyed staff trust in his leadership and "compromised the integrity and effectiveness" of the bank.

The case has caused huge embarrassment to Mr Wolfowitz, who has campaigned against corruption and for sound governance since he was appointed head of the bank in 2005.


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Mr Wolfowitz apologises for his mistake



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