EXCLUSIVE IDB may investigate chief over possible relationship with staff member, embezzlement – sources

Visitors walk past a display bearing the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) logo at the Atlapa convention center in Panama City March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

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MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank met to discuss accusations in an anonymous email that bank president Mauricio Claver-Carone had an intimate relationship with a staff member, three sources said.

One of the sources, an IDB person with direct knowledge of the matter, said the directors discussed the possibility of hiring an outside company to investigate the allegations and ask Claver-Carone to step down. temporarily.

The other two sources confirmed that the bank’s 14 directors, its general counsel and its assistant secretary met to discuss the allegations and the way forward in a two-and-a-half-hour virtual meeting on Tuesday.

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The directors met again on Thursday to draft a resolution to hire an outside company to investigate the allegations, the banking source said. The directors have decided not to offer to remove Claver-Carone from office, the IDB person with direct knowledge said.

Reuters was unable to confirm claims about the alleged relationship, which if verified would appear to violate bank rules.

The IDB had no comment when asked about the two meetings and the allegations.

Claver-Carone, a former White House official named to the IDB role by President Donald Trump, did not respond to repeated emails or calls seeking comment.

Prior to joining the IDB in 2020, Claver-Carone served under Trump as Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council.

The IDB is a development bank which, although much smaller than the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, is a key player in Latin America. It was responsible for $23.4 billion in financing and other financial commitments to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, according to bank figures.

An anonymous email sent a week ago to the bank’s board and ethics officer accused Claver-Carone of having a relationship with a senior strategist who reports to him, according to the banking source with direct knowledge of the matter. meet. Reuters has not seen the email.

The email also accused Claver-Carone and the staffer of embezzling IDB funds, a source said, without giving further details.

The IDB’s code of ethics on its website states, “You may not participate in any employment-related decision concerning anyone with whom you have an intimate relationship.”

The allegations surfaced just weeks after the bank’s annual meeting and just as Claver-Carone is seeking to push through a capital raise for IDB Invest, the bank’s private arm.

Raising capital would require the support of the United States, the bank’s largest shareholder, and its other members at a time when resources are constrained due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the rise in climatic shocks. Leading Democrats have opposed the nomination of Claver-Carone for the IDB role by Trump, a Republican.

The US Treasury Department declined to comment when asked about the IDB meeting.

The resolution is to be sent to the IDB’s board of governors, most of whom are finance ministers from member countries, to allow directors to launch an investigation, according to the banking source with knowledge of the meeting.

The results will be shared with governors once completed, the banking source said.

Claver-Carone, an intransigent Cuban hawk, faced a strong backlash ahead of his election as IDB president in 2020 from some member states, including Argentina and Mexico, who bristled at breaking the tradition of the bank since 1959 to have a president from a Latin American country.

Claver-Carone dismissed the pushback at the time, saying it had “overwhelming” support, citing public support from 15 countries and six more privately.

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Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Adam Jourdan, Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler

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