G7 mulls global currency, hedge funds, amidst Wolfowitz scandal

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2007 (AFP) – Global finance chiefs launched a new bid Friday to bridge gaps on economic and currency policy at talks clouded by a growing scandal threatening the tenure of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States went behind closed doors divided over currency questions and moves to regulate the booming hedge-fund industry.

In the face of European unease over a weakening yen, Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said before conferring with US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some open discussion of the yen, as usual.”

The G7 convened at the Treasury building in downtown Washington ahead of weekend meetings of policymakers from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The three-day parley comes as attention in financial and development circles is riveted on the fate of Wolfowitz, currently facing calls that he resign because of his role in a pay scandal at the bank.

The 63-year-old World Bank chief stands accused of helping arrange a massive pay hike for his Libyan-born girlfriend, former World Bank communications spec