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Inter-American Development Bank dismisses President Mauricio Claver-Carone over his alleged relationship with a subordinate whom he favored

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Posted: Monday, September 26, 2022. 6:10 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s Board of Governors has moved to dismiss President Mauricio Claver-Carone with immediate effect, according to an official statement.

The Bank said it had acted on the “unanimous recommendation by the Board of Executive Directors.” Executive Vice-President Reina Irene Mejía Chacón will act as President, under the direction of the Board of Executive Directors, until a new President is elected.

The Bank’s brief statement issued this afternoon did not indicate a reason for dismissal, but stated “The IDB Group and its teams continue to operate normally to comply with the IDB’s mission of improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

However, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais, it comes after an ethics investigation showed violations of the institutional code in respect of a relationship with a subordinate whom he allegedly favored with his decisions. The external probe, conducted by law firm Davis Polk & Landwell, found that Claver-Carone not only had a romantic relationship with a senior staffer but also signed off on salary increases totaling more than 45 percent of base pay in less than one year.

Claver-Carone was nominated by former President Donald Trump and was the first non-Latin American to head the bank, to which the United States contributes more than 30 percent of capital. Successor Joe Biden’s government has withdrawn its support and the final vote was reportedly unanimous.

“His creation of a climate of fear of retaliation among staff and borrowing countries has forfeited the confidence of the Bank’s staff and shareholders and necessitates a change in leadership,” a Treasury Department spokesperson told the Associated Press (AP) last week.

Reuters reports there was evidence he had engaged in a prior intimate relationship with a senior staffer and it may have continued while they were at the bank. But in an interview with the news service Claver-Carone denied on Monday that he ever had an intimate relationship with the staffer and said he was planning legal action against the bank.

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 permanently with a woman, several sources briefed on the search for his replacement said.

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 someone from outside Latin America had failed, and that leadership of the bank should now return to the region.

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.

 

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