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Corruption Chronicles

World Bank Official Wolfowitz Gets Girlfriend Double Pay

A high-ranking official in three different Republican administrations who currently presides over the World Bank, has admitted using his authority to get his girlfriend promotions and hefty pay rises at the institution he heads.

Paul Wolfowitz, the country’s Deputy Defense Secretary until 2005, personally directed the World Bank’s head of human resources to offer his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a huge pay increase and promotion that drew attention because it was more than double allowed under staff rules.

In a written memorandum Wolfowitz specifically ordered Riza’s promotion to a senior position with a lucrative salary of $193,000 free of tax. It also mapped out future promotions and subsequent annual pay increases. Ironically, the 185-nation World Bank strives to reduce poverty worldwide by assisting developing countries and Wolfowitz vowed to fervently pursue anti-corruption policies when he became its president.

Riza worked as a communications advisor in the bank’s Middle East Department when she became romantically involved with her boss. Arab media has covered the relationship extensively because it features President Bush’s neoconservative hawk – the architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Furthermore, a close relationship with such a powerful American has earned Riza the title of most influential Muslim in Washington.

Besides recently serving as George W. Bush’s Deputy Defense Secretary, Wolfowitz was undersecretary for defense policy under Dick Cheney during papa Bush’s administration. In the 1980s he was an assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under Ronald Reagan. A few years later he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.


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