Canada expands probe of China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

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Canada is broadening a probe of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and freezing its participation in the multilateral organisation indefinitely, the government said on Friday.

Ottawa had temporarily suspended its involvement in the AIIB in June after a whistle-blower asserted that China’s ruling party pulls the strings at the bank.

The AIIB, a project pushed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, was launched in 2016 to counter Western dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It has 106 global members, including Australia, Canada, France and Germany.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank logo is seen at its headquarter building in Beijing in January 2016. Photo: Reuters

“In consultation with some of our closest international partners, Canada is expanding its review of the AIIB,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement, adding that its participation in the bank would remain indefinitely suspended.

The probe will include an analysis of AIIB investments, as well as its governance and management frameworks, and an assessment of management’s response to concerns raised by a former executive.

Bob Pickard, a Canadian who was the bank’s communications chief, resigned in June and alleged that the organisation is dominated by members of the Chinese Communist Party and primarily funds projects of interest to Beijing.

‘Outright lies’: China’s Ottawa embassy dismisses explosive AIIB claims

Ottawa said it has raised those concerns with Australia, Britain, Germany and Sweden on the sidelines of a recent IMF meeting.

The AIIB and China’s foreign ministry have rejected Pickard’s explosive claims, saying the bank operates with “openness, meritocracy and transparency”.

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