Now Greece may be about to become the first European nation to default on the IMF, putting it in exclusive company with Zimbabwe and Argentina.
Athens postponed a 300 million euro installment due last week and bundled it with others due this month into a single 1.6 billion euro payment due to the IMF at the end of June.
Greece has said it can only pay if it gets new funds from creditors or is allowed to sell more short-term debt to Greek banks, which in turn hinges on a stalled cash-for-reform deal.
Critics say the IMF has damaged its credibility by going along with political fudges to keep Greece in the euro zone rather than insisting on write-offs, first by private creditors and now by European governments, to make its debt sustainable.
“One of the most important lessons for the IMF from the Greek program should be that a multilateral institution should not institutionalize special interests of a subset of its membership,” said Ousmene Mandeng, a former IMF official who is now an economics adviser.
“The interest of the IMF is not necessarily aligned with the EU/ECB,” he said.