China-based development bank rejects claims of CCP control

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says internal review shows lender follows ‘highest standards’ of governance.

The AIIB was established in 2016 as an alternative to Western lenders, such as the World Bank [File: Tingshu Wang/Reuters]

A China-based multilateral development bank has dismissed a whistleblower’s claims that it has a toxic culture and is dominated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) following an internal investigation.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Friday that an internal review found that the bank follows the “highest standards of multilateral governance” and that its “governance is functioning as intended”.

General Counsel Alberto Ninio said there was “no evidence to support or validate” the former employee’s claims, although the review identified a number of recommendations, including strengthening pre-recruitment screening and staff grievance procedures.

“The Internal Review confirms that AIIB’s governance structure functions as intended to deliver an apolitical, constructive, balanced and consensus-oriented decision culture,” Ninio said in a statement.


Bob Pickard last month announced his resignation as the AIIB’s communications director in a social media post accusing the lender of being “dominated” by CCP members and presiding over “one of the most toxic cultures imaginable”.

“I don’t believe that my country’s interests are served by its AIIB membership,” Pickard, who is Canadian, said.

The  AIIB at the time described the allegations as “baseless and disappointing”.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who serves as AIIB governor, said Ottawa would put its ties with the lender on hold pending a review following the allegations.

Pickard earlier this month confirmed he would not participate in the internal review due to its lack of independence, saying it would only “reconfirm the incurious self-serving conclusions AIIB had already reached right from the start”.

Pickard, a veteran communications professional, said he had been cooperating with the Canadian government’s inquiries into his resignation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping established the AIIB in 2016 as an alternative to Western lenders like the World Bank.

The United States opposed the AIIB’s launch at the time, viewing it as a vehicle for Beijing to expand its global influence.

The lender, which has more than 100 members, has financed projects totalling $37bn in countries including India, Pakistan, Turkey and the Philippines, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Source: Al Jazeera