Reuters | Sat Apr 3, 2010 | 3:13am IST
The International Monetary Fund fueled the economic crisis in emerging Europe last year to create a situation in which it would be asked to help bail out the region, a Czech central banker was quoted as saying on Friday. The Fund, which led the rescue of former Communist Hungary, Latvia, Ukraine and Romania, misinterpreted data as it was seeking a task under its new management, Czech deputy governor Mojmir Hampl told Austrian daily Der Standard in an interview. "It’s ridiculous that it was the IMF, of all people, who accelerated the crisis," Hampl said. "This was an apparent attempt to bring about a bailout of an entire region. "Before this crisis, (the IMF had) virtually no clients," he added. "With this crisis and the new leadership under Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Fund found a new job and got more funds."
However, Zdenek Tuma, the Czech National Bank’s governor, contradicted his deputy when asked about Hampl’s interview. "The opinion expressed by Mr Hampl that the IMF accelerated the crisis is his personal opinion. This is not a position of the Czech National Bank and I don’t share it," Tuma told Reuters over the phone. "The IMF is an institution with a mandate to support countries when they are in trouble," Tuma said. "Countries like Latvia or Hungary had structural problems … and fiscal problems. This is exactly the case when the IMF should come in, and that happened," Tuma said.