Exclusive-Trump nominee Claver-Carone voted out at IDB, threatens legal action By Reuters
Stock Markets 1 hour ago (Sep 26, 2022 03:17PM ET)
(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past a screen with the logo of Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
By Cassandra Garrison and Andrea Shalal
MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) voted on Monday to fire Mauricio Claver-Carone, two people with knowledge of the vote said, after an investigation showed the only American president in the bank’s 62-year history had an intimate relationship with a subordinate.
The 14 directors had voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend firing Claver-Carone after an independent ethics investigation found evidence he had engaged in an intimate relationship with a senior staffer for whom he had made employment decisions, including salary increases totaling more than 45% of base pay in less than one year.
Claver-Carone denied in an interview with Reuters on Monday that he ever had an intimate relationship with the staffer and said he was planning legal action against the bank.
Headquartered in Washington, the IDB is a key investor in Latin America and the Caribbean, behind nearly 600 ongoing infrastructure, health, tourism and other projects. It was responsible for $23.4 billion in financing and other financial commitments in 2021, and was expected to lend billions to Argentina in 2022 and 2023 to help ease economic turmoil.
Cuban-American Claver-Carone was nominated for a five-year term then-President Donald Trump and took office in October 2020. He had tried to wrest power away from Argentina and Brazil, which have dominated the bank’s agenda in the past, and provide more of a role for smaller countries.
Investigators also found that Claver-Carone created a hostile environment at the bank, with numerous staff members fearing reprisals and retaliation for participating fully and honestly in the probe, three sources said. Ten of the 50 people interviewed for the probe expressed such concerns, one source added.
Nominations for Claver-Carone’s replacement, likely a politically charged process, were expected to begin as early as next week.
Some members are pushing for Claver-Carone to be replaced with a woman, several sources briefed on the search for his replacement said.
Claver-Carone denied any allegations of wrongdoing and said he had not been informed by the bank of the vote to remove him. He is planning legal action against the bank, he told Reuters.
“They have yet to be able to substantiate one single rule that I violated,” Claver-Carone said, “but we’ve identified 15 rules that the bank violated” regarding rights and protections for its employees.
The bank’s executive vice president, Reina Irene Mejia, from Honduras, is expected to take over as acting president until a successor is chosen, a source said.
The bank had no immediate comment.
WHISTLEBLOWER SPARKS PROBE
The IDB hired a law firm after a whistleblower sent an email to bank officials in April, alleging that Claver-Carone had engaged in a relationship with someone he directly managed. The firm presented the findings of its investigation to the bank’s directors on Monday.
It included details of what investigators said was evidence of the relationship, sources said, including a photograph of a hand-written contract on the back of a paper placemat, purportedly written and signed by Claver-Carone and the staffer, which stated, “we deserve absolute happiness” and a clause that stipulated any contract breach would result in “candle wax and a naughty box.”
Asked by Reuters about the placemat, he said he had not been shown the original document. He said the document had been disallowed in the staffer’s divorce proceedings, and questioned why it should be included in the IDB investigation.
Claver-Carone has refused to hand over his bank-issued cellphone to investigators, two sources said. Claver-Carone told Reuters he did so because the phone contained confidential texts from world leaders
He said he felt let down by the U.S. government.
“I’ve never felt so betrayed by my country,” Claver-Carone told Reuters, saying he had never been told by the bank’s legal counsel what to expect from the investigative process. “I have to have anybody talk to me in the bank, let alone my own government.”
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and a Mexican official who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the experiment of appointing of someone from outside Latin America had failed, and that leadership of the bank should now return to the region.
Exclusive-Trump nominee Claver-Carone voted out at IDB, threatens legal action
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