The board of directors of the Inter-American Development Bank voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the ouster of President Mauricio Claver-Carone after an independent ethics investigation found misconduct, three sources familiar with the vote said.
The recommendation leaves the final decision on Latin America’s largest development bank in the hands of its highest body, the board of governors, which will vote from Friday to Tuesday, one of the sources said.
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Claver-Carone did not immediately respond to a phone call or text message.
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 its voting shares, supported the removal of Claver-Carone and wanted to see a “quick resolution.” by the governors.
“President Claver-Carone’s refusal to cooperate fully with the investigation and his creation of a climate of fear of retaliation among staff and borrowing countries has eroded the confidence of Bank staff and shareholders and necessitates a change in leadership,” the spokesman said.
In a statement responding to Treasury, Claver-Carone said: “It is disgraceful that the United States has commented to the press before notifying me and is not defending two Americans against what is clearly fabricated information.”
The bank’s 14 directors voted after four long days of debate and an appearance by Claver-Carone, who had been in New York for meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the board of directors was close to reaching a consensus on the vote to fire Claver-Carone.
The removal of Claver-Carone, a candidate of former US President Donald Trump, requires a majority of the total voting power of the board of directors. The bank’s three largest shareholders – the United States, Argentina and Brazil – together hold almost 53% of the voting power. Claver-Carone took office in October 2020.
Governors are expected to approve the recommendation, one of the sources said.
The Davis Polk law firm told the governors it had found evidence to support the whistleblowers’ allegations that Claver-Carone had been in an intimate relationship with a subordinate and had engaged in misconduct that violated bank rules.
Investigators said they had uncovered evidence including a photograph of a handwritten contract on the back of a paper tablecloth, purportedly written and signed by Claver-Carone and the staff member, which read “we deserve absolute happiness” and a clause that stipulated that any breach of contract would result in “candle wax and a naughty box”.
US officials were particularly concerned about Claver-Carone’s “behavior during the investigation, including her refusal to make available her IDB-issued work phone number and other records,” said an independent source familiar with the matter.
They also objected to his “selective and misleading disclosure of sensitive information with the intent to tarnish the investigation and shape public opinion,” the source said. This had “undermined confidence in Claver-Carone’s reliability and his ability to lead a rules-based multilateral development institution,” the source added.
Claver-Carone also denied the investigation’s finding of “direct evidence” that he had had an undisclosed relationship with an IDB staff member who reported directly to him, and to whom he gave raises totaling more than 45% of base salary. in less than a year, the source added.
U.S. officials also believed that Claver-Carone created “an environment in which personnel feared retaliation, including what appears to be actual retaliation against senior and rank-and-file personnel who fully and honestly participated in the investigation,” the statement said. font.
US Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, had strongly opposed Trump’s nomination of Claver-Carone to become the first American to lead 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.