IDB Directors unanimously recommend firing Claver-Carone after ethical investigation

Visitors walk past a screen displaying 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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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – The board of directors of the Inter-American Development Bank voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the firing of President Mauricio Claver-Carone after an independent ethics investigation found wrongdoing, three sources familiar with the attack said. mood.

The recommendation throws the final decision on Latin America’s largest development bank to the highest body, the board of governors, which will vote Friday through Tuesday, one of the sources said.

Claver-Carone did not immediately respond to a phone call or text message requesting comment.

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A spokesman for the US Treasury Department declined to confirm the vote, but said the United States, the bank’s largest shareholder with 30% of voting shares, supported Claver-Carone’s resignation and a “quick fix” from the bank. governors wanted to see.

President Claver-Carone’s refusal to cooperate fully with the investigation and creating a climate of fear of reprisal among its staff and borrowing countries has lost the confidence of the bank’s staff and shareholders and requires a change in leadership,” the spokesperson said. .

Claver-Carone said in a statement in response to the Treasury: “It is shameful that the US commented on the press before notifying me and that it is not defending two Americans against clearly fabricated information.”

The bank’s 14 directors voted after four long days of discussions and an appearance by Claver-Carone, who was in New York this week for meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the board was nearing consensus on a vote to fire Claver-Carone.

Termination of Claver-Carone, a candidate of former US President Donald Trump, requires a majority of the board’s total votes. The bank’s three largest shareholders – the United States, Argentina and Brazil – together hold almost 53% of the voting rights. Claver-Carone took office in October 2020.

The governors are expected to approve the recommendation, one of the sources said.

The law firm Davis Polk told the directors it had found evidence to support whistleblower allegations that Claver-Carone had had an intimate relationship with an underling and had engaged in misconduct that violated the bank’s rules.

Investigators said they found evidence, including a photo of a handwritten contract on the back of a paper placemat, purportedly written and signed by Claver-Carone and the staff, which read “we absolutely deserve happiness” and a clause prohibiting certain breaches of contract. would result in ‘candle wax and a naughty box’.

US officials were particularly concerned about Claver-Carone’s “conduct during the investigation, including his refusal to make his IDB-issued work phone and other records available,” according to a separate source familiar with the case.

They disagreed with his “selective and misleading release of confidential information intended to tarnish the investigation and shape public opinion,” the source said. This had “undermined confidence in Claver-Carone’s reliability and ability to lead a rules-based multilateral development institution,” the source added.

Claver-Carone also denied “direct evidence” that he had a secret relationship with an IDB employee who reported directly to him, to whom he gave pay increases totaling more than 45% of base salary in less than a year, the source said. added.

US officials believed Claver-Carone had “created an environment in which staff feared reprisal, including what appears to be actual retaliation against senior and base personnel who fully and fairly participated in the investigation,” the source said.

US Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, had strongly opposed Trump’s nomination of Claver-Carone as the first American to head the bank, a position traditionally held by someone from Latin America.

“That tradition needs to be restored, with a person of the highest integrity and professionalism,” Leahy told Reuters.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington and Cassandra Garrison in Mexico City; Editing by Josie Kao and Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Cassandra Garrison

Thomson Reuters

Reporter from Mexico, focusing on climate change and companies with an emphasis on telecom. Previously based in Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires, where he handled the Argentine debt crisis, the battle for influence between the United States and China in Latin America, and the coronavirus pandemic.

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