Chief of Latin America’s Top Development Bank Faces Dismissal Vote Over Misconduct Allegations


Leading member states of the Inter-American Development Bank are expected to vote to dismiss bank president

Mauricio Claver-Carone

after an investigation found misconduct over an undisclosed romantic relationship between him and a bank staffer, according to senior government officials of countries with large voting stakes at the bank.

People familiar with the matter said the bank’s shareholders unanimously supported removing Mr. Claver-Carone after a law firm conducting an investigation for the bank found evidence that he had been in a relationship with a bank staffer who reported to him. The investigation also found that Mr. Claver-Carone approved a 45% base pay raise for the senior staffer in less than one year, the people said.

Mr. Claver-Carone couldn’t be reached for comment. He said in a statement posted on the bank’s website earlier this week that he supported and cooperated in the probe. He denied having a relationship with the staffer and said the investigation didn’t substantiate the “false and anonymous allegations” that were made against him in press reports.

“Despite the absence of due process, I fully cooperated without relinquishing my constitutional rights,” he added.

A spokesman for the bank said he had no information on the vote of the bank’s board of directors. People familiar with the situation said the board recommended on Thursday that Mr. Claver-Carone be removed.

A Cuban-American who had served as senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council during the Trump administration, Mr. Claver-Carone became the first U.S. citizen to lead the IDB, which rankled governments in the region since his appointment broke the tradition of having a Latin American run the institution. Before joining the Trump administration, Mr. Claver-Carone had lobbied for the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. And at the White House, he was a key architect in tightening sanctions on Havana and Venezuela.

In mid-2020, the Trump administration nominated him to lead the IDB, a Washington-based multilateral lender that last year provided more than $23 billion in loans across the region to support antipoverty, health, education and infrastructure programs.

The final decision on the dismissal of Mr. Claver-Carone will be made by the bank’s board of governors, which is mainly made up of finance ministers from member countries. Member states such as the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, which together hold more than 60% of total votes, are expected to approve the dismissal next week, the people familiar with the situation said.

“After a thorough, independent, and credible investigation found misconduct that violated the Inter-American Development Bank’s principles and values, and following consultation with partners, the United States supports the dismissal of the IDB president,” U.S. Treasury Department spokesman Michael Kikukawa said.

People familiar with the matter said the U.S. was concerned about what was seen as a lack of cooperation by Mr. Claver-Carone during the investigation, including a refusal to turn over his bank-issued phone and other records.

“President Claver-Carone’s refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation, and 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,” Mr. Kikukawa said.

Mr. Claver-Carone’s nomination to lead the multilateral lender broke with a six-decade tradition in which a Latin American held the presidency of an institution that also provides technical advice to member states.

Write to José de Córdoba at [email protected], Juan Montes at [email protected] and Andrew Duehren at [email protected]

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