World Bank officials say the bank's board is completing an "exit strategy" that will allow World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign this afternoon and "still save some face" over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank.
The officials say the bank's board will accept Wolfowitz's resignation but will also acknowledge that the World Bank's Ethics Committee bears "some responsibility" for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.
The decision is likely today, officials say, because Wolfowitz had been scheduled to leave tonight for a European trip.
German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said yesterday, "He would do the bank and himself a great service if he resigned." The German said Wolfowitz would not be welcome at an Africa forum the bank is holding next week in Berlin should he refuse to resign.
Wolfowitz made an impassioned plea to the board last night to clear his name before leaving.
He said the inquiry into his conduct "has the potential to do greater long-term damage to the institution than the alleged underlying ethics issue that was, in point of fact, put to rest over a year ago."
ABC News was the first to report Tuesday the White House was beginning to change its stance on the Wolfowitz issue.
A senior White House official told ABC News that "all options are on the table" regarding Paul Wolfowitz's future and that "it is an open question" whether he should should remain as president of the World Bank.