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Geithner sworn in as new US Treasury Secretary

TIMOTHY Geithner was sworn in as the new US Treasury Secretary yesterday, succeeding Henry Paulson.

Shortly before Geithner was sworn into office, US President Barack Obama said the nation's new Treasury Secretary must move quickly to help an eroding economy.

The work of the Treasury Department under Geithner must begin at once, Obama said.

The US Senate approved Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, despite many people expressing dissatisfaction over his tax mistakes.

The 60-34 vote cleared one of Obama's most troubled nominations. Obama had called for a quick approval by the Senate so that a key position in his cabinet for the planned economic rescue could be filled.

At a Senate's hearing held last week, Geithner apologized for what he called "careless mistakes" in failing to pay more than US$34,000 in income taxes earlier in the decade, when he worked at the International Monetary Fund.

"I have paid what I owed," Geithner said at the hearing. "I apologize to the committee for putting you in the position of having to spend so much time on these issues."

Geithner paid back taxes and interest for 2003 and 2004 after an Internal Revenue Service audit. He made the same tax error in 2001 and 2002, and did not pay back taxes for those years until Obama expressed interest in nominating him.


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