IDB begins reviewing report on bank chief’s alleged ties to staffer, source says

WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY – The Inter-American Development Bank‘s (IDB) board of directors on Monday began reviewing an independent report on whistleblower allegations that the bank‘s chief, Mauricio Claver-Carone, had an intimate relationship with a staffer and misused IDB funds, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Latin America’s main development bank, which is headquartered in Washington, hired legal firm Davis Polk to investigate the allegations after holding several meetings on the issue in April. Read full story

Board members received the report prepared by Davis Polk on Monday and met later in the day to review it, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The findings of the report were not immediately available.

Mr. Claver-Carone in April denied the allegations and said he was the target of an “anonymous political media campaign.” Read full story

Mr. Claver-Carone, in New York on Monday for meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, could not immediately be reached for comment. An IDB official who works closely with him told Reuters that Mr. Claver-Carone has not received or seen a copy of the report, despite repeated requests by his attorneys.

He met with investigators from the law firm on two occasions, with the first lasting for over five hours, said the IDB official, who declined to be named.

The bank‘s ethics rules and code of conduct require employees or staff to be given 15 business days to review and respond to any perceived factual errors before a report on alleged wrongdoing is finalized, the official said.

Reuters reported in April that the whistleblower had sent an anonymous email to the board of directors and the bank‘s ethics officer, accusing Mr. Claver-Carone, a former Trump administration official, of carrying out a relationship with a senior strategist who reported to him, and of misusing IDB funds. Read full story

Reuters has seen the email, which requested a “thorough, transparent, independent investigation.” Reuters was unable to confirm the claims about the alleged relationship, which, if verified, would appear to be against the bank‘s rules.

The United States, the bank‘s largest shareholder, “takes all ethics allegations at the international financial institutions (IFIs) very seriously, and we strongly support whistleblower protections,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Treasury Department said. “We also support a prompt and fair process for assessing such allegations.”

One source familiar with the matter said it would be “weeks, not days” before any decision on Mr. Claver-Carone’s future.

Mr. Claver-Carone, a hard-line Cuba hawk, faced a strong backlash ahead of his election to the IDB presidency in 2020 by some member states, including Argentina and Mexico, who bristled at breaking the bank‘s tradition since 1959 of having a president from a Latin American country. – Reuters

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