the future of Mauricio Claver Carone as president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) he is hanging by a thread and the fate at the head of this financial institution could be determined this very week.
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According to multiple press reports and sources consulted by this newspaper, the Board of Directors would be inclined to remove him from office after learning the result of an independent investigation. about his alleged relationship with a subordinate.
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The investigation was ordered by the Board of Directors after an anonymous source reported the relationship and other types of irregularities, including a series of promotions to the subordinate, who works as his advisor and is of Colombian origin.
According to the Davis Polk firm report, whose content was leaked to the press, although there is no “direct evidence” of the romance, it does say that there are indications of that relationship and suggests that the romance comes from that Claver-Carone and the adviser worked together in the White House before the official was appointed as director of the IDB.
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Likewise, it maintains that both Claver-Carone and the advisor refused to collaborate with the investigation, something required by IDB regulations. According to Davis Polk, who cites more than 10 IDB employees in his investigation, neither of them allowed the phones given to them by the company to be checked in order to verify the text messages that were sent or their e-mail accounts. mail.
That lack of cooperation, the report maintains, can be understood as “circumstantial evidence of an intimate relationship”.
According to the Axios portal, Claver-Carone, according to the witnesses cited in the investigation, would have promised to “destroy the bank” for the investigation that is being carried out against him.
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The official, who was reluctantly imposed by the administration of President Donald Trump towards the end of his term, has categorically denied the relationship and is planning a meeting with the IDB directors this Thursday to respond to the accusations made against him. does in the report.
By tradition, the presidency of the IDB had always fallen to Latin Americans, just as the leadership of the World Bank is one for an American and that of the International Monetary Fund for the IMF. Despite this, Trump used his economic muscle in the Bank (he owns 30 percent of its shares) to promote Claver-Carone with the support of other countries such as Brazil and Colombia.
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Since the report was delivered, the Bank’s Board has met three times to evaluate it. According to the agency Reuterswhich was the first to report on the result of the investigation, the Board, which is made up of 14 members, would be close to reaching a consensus on the need to remove the official. To reach that consensus, only a simple majority of its members is required.
If that happens, the final decision would pass to the Board of Governors, made up of the 48 finance chiefs (ministers) of the countries that make up the IDB and in which the vote of each depends on their shareholding power.
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Only between Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, today headed by leftist governments that do not agree with Claver-Carone, a declared anti-Castro and with right-wing positions, they add up to almost 20 percent of that vote. But according to ReutersBrazil, which initially defended the official’s candidacy and owns another 11 percent of the Bank’s shares, would also turn its back on him at this time.
Of course, Claver-Carone’s fate depends largely on what the US decides to do with its 30 percent stake thatadded to those of these four countries would be enough to reach the 50 percent necessary to dismiss him.
Both the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have always opposed the Claver-Carone candidacy. Not only because of the break with tradition, but because of his lack of experience and political positions.
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The question now is whether, in light of the new report, they are ready to ‘run the rug’ and pay the political cost of withdrawing support from an American.
And the answer is probably associated with what other countries do. As a high-ranking source tells this newspaper, Biden does not want to make this decision alone and in that the position of Brazil could be key.
But as another source affirms “the report is so devastating that this is like the chronicle of a death foretold. Their actions are indefensible and both the bank and the US would look very bad because there was a clear ethical violation that goes against IDB regulations.
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For now, what the United States has said is that “it takes all accusations of ethical violations in financial institutions very seriously” and that it strongly supports “protections against those who whistle blowers.” Likewise, that they support a serious process to evaluate the accusations and that they are reviewing the report with “extreme care.”
The report is so devastating that this is like the chronicle of a death foretold
One of the things that has caused the most blisters internally at the IDB is the exorbitant salary being paid to the adviser promoted by Claver.
The official arrived at the Bank with a salary of almost US$290,000 per year (1,200 million pesos). But in less than two years she was promoted twice and today she earns US$420,000 (almost 1,700 million pesos).
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Remuneration only surpassed by that of the president himself and that is equivalent to what the vice president of this institution would earn.
Likewise, there is deep discomfort over the retaliation that Claver-Carone had already taken against bank officials who collaborated with the investigation.
This Friday it was learned that the president decided to demote -and unilaterally- the vice president for Financial and Administrative Affairs, the Argentine Gustavo de Rosa, for allegedly collaborating with the Davis Polk investigation. A decision that, according to the Bank’s regulations, should be consulted with the Board of Directors.
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According to those in the know, if the Board recommends dismissal, the issue would be addressed by the Board of Governors (the finance ministers of the member countries), who will meet next month in Washington for the World Bank’s fall meetings.
His possible replacement would also be discussed at this meeting and everything indicates that he would be a Brazilian, given that this country has never held the presidency and was the most preferred until Claver-Carone appeared two years ago. Which also explains why Brazil would no longer be so interested in defending the troubled official.
While President Jair Bolsonaro is right-wing and an ally of Trump, he is no longer in power and could score a cheap win. Above all, if the current occupants of the White House have no interest in fighting either.
SERGIO GOMEZ MASERI
Correspondent of THE TIME
On twitter @sergom68
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