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It’s a photo that still haunts the International Monetary Fund.
In 1998, as a financial crisis raged across Asia, then IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus was snapped as he stood with arms folded watching Indonesian President Suharto sign an unpopular bailout agreement that demanded steep spending cuts and painful reforms.
“That photograph was very damaging,” said James Boughton, former IMF historian and now senior fellow at Canada’s Centre for International Governance Innovation. “It was because the Fund already had that image of being the bad boss, and that they jetted in from a long way off and started issuing orders.”