The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that it had found evidence that Chinese officials had made payments to the U.S. Treasury totaling $1.8 billion between 2010 and 2016 in exchange for political favors.
The funds were used to help finance a 2014 effort by a political rival to force China to reform its economy and open up to international competition.
The Fund said the payments were “highly suspect” and should be investigated.
The IMF’s assessment of the Chinese payments comes as the Trump administration is weighing its options in the wake of a trade war with China.
Chinese officials have been criticized by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and others over the payments and for their apparent willingness to cooperate with U.E. officials on issues ranging from trade to the war on drugs.
Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese goods that the U,S.
and other countries have accused of costing American jobs.
On Friday, the Treasury said it would investigate the payments, but that the fund would continue to take action to hold Chinese officials accountable.
“The U.K. Treasury has made a significant and timely contribution to the work of the Fund to investigate these allegations,” the Treasury’s director for foreign exchange, Chris McLean, said in a statement.
“We continue to work closely with our counterparts in the U!
on the matter and are looking forward to the outcome of their investigations.”
The Treasury’s move comes after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he had spoken with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Mnuchin is expected to testify at a congressional hearing about currency manipulation later this month.
McLean told reporters Friday that he had asked the Treasury to investigate the payment because of its significance.
China’s foreign exchange market is expected in the $30 billion range.
While China’s payments are highly suspicious, the fund said, they were not illegal and did not violate any of its guidelines.
It said the payment was made “to ensure the U of A administration complied with its obligations to cooperate and acted in accordance with U!s domestic and international obligations, including through the purchase of the shares of Sino-American Funds.”
A Treasury official said in response that the agency would continue its investigation.
“The Treasury is committed to ensuring that the United States continues to comply with its international obligations under the Global Finance Reforms Act of 2018 and other applicable laws,” the official said.