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Wolfowitz alleges 'smear campaign'

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 1, 2007


WASHINGTON - World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz decried what he called a "smear campaign" against him Monday and told a bank panel he had acted in good faith in securing a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend. He said he had no plans to resign, and President Bush gave him a fresh endorsement.

In a statement prepared for the panel, Wolfowitz said the institution's ethics committee had access to all the details surrounding the arrangement involving bank employee Shaha Riza, "if they wanted it."

"I acted transparently, sought and received guidance from the bank's ethics committee and conducted myself in good faith in accordance with that guidance, " he said.

The special bank panel is investigating Wolfowitz's handling of the 2005 promotion and pay package of Riza, who was assigned to duties at the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest after Wolfowitz became bank president.

Riza, who appeared before the panel late in the day, said she didn't want to move in the first place and wasn't satisfied with the arrangement. "I continue to believe that I should not have been asked to leave and that I was unjustly treated for reasons that I had no control over and still do not understand, " she said in a statement to the panel. She also defended her pay.

Riza was working at the bank when Wolfowitz arrived in 2005.