The arrival in office of the current president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the American Mauricio Claver-Carone, in September 2020, was fraught with controversy. Until then, the bank had never had a non-Latin American first head. He was Donald Trump’s candidate and his election was highly contested. Two years later, Claver-Carone is the center of a new storm, with all the ingredients of a novel, which has placed him on the ropes. An independent report requested by the IDB, to which EL PAÍS has had access, maintains that the president and the chief of staff had a romantic relationship before arriving at the bank, something prohibited by the internal policy of the multilateral organization. Not only that, in these two years, the woman, J.B, got two pay raises. The president denies all the accusations.
The IDB will have to decide these days what actions to take in the face of an unprecedented situation in its 73 years of life. The origin of this story dates back to last March. An anonymous whistleblower raised suspicions about him to the bank’s Board of Governors, which entrusted the Davis Polk law firm with the task of launching an independent investigation. The report, which Claver-Carone claims he has not yet seen, claims that neither he nor JB collaborated with the investigation, which would also go against internal policy. The president alleged otherwise on Tuesday: “I supported and participated in this unprecedented investigation that, as expected, does not corroborate the false and anonymous accusations made against me or IDB staff in the press.”
The report ensures that he never agreed to hand over his company phone to analyze, the messages between them on his personal phone, or their emails. She, for her part, refused an interview for the investigation. “There is evidence to support the conclusion that they had a romantic relationship before joining the Bank and that the relationship may have continued during their employment.” In less than a year, the president approved two salary increases for J.B, the first one upon arrival. The woman was hired on September 23, 2020 for a net annual salary of $287,000 (290,000 euros). A week later, on October 1, Claver-Carone approves a 20% increase, up to $350,000 (354,000 euros). In July 2021, the president signs a new increase of 20% (420,000 dollars, 424,000 euros at the exchange rate).
Only two days before, she had expressed her anger to him that someone had asked her to help coordinate a tour of the art collection. This was the exchange of emails that appears in the report:
– Really? writes the woman.
– Ignore him, tell them to go to hell.
JB writes that she is “fed up” and that something has to change.
– Okay. Tell me what you want. (…) I will do whatever you want.
– I want to have an executive vice president title as director of banking strategy and collections.
The next day, Claver-Carone asks human resources for a salary increase and a change of position for JB
The war is already on the table of the multilateral organization. The president, in his statement, assures that “the investigation process did not meet international standards of integrity, which both the IDB and the region strive to exemplify.” Likewise, he questions that a process has been opened as a result of an anonymous complaint. Claver-Carone also criticizes not having seen the report and adds that, “as expected”, the investigation does not corroborate the facts. That is true only in part.
The deep Throat In this case, he not only referred to the sentimental relationship between the two, but also accused the president and the chief of staff of incurring extra costs on trips to cover up their romance. The report has verified that some business travel expenses made by the two “are incompatible with Bank policy”, but have found no evidence that they had the purpose of covering up the relationship. The investigation also found that Claver-Carone violated internal purchasing card policies, but it is “unclear” if he knew that was so or he did so on purpose.
The complainant assured that several employees would have suffered reprisals within the bank for talking about the love relationship, which has also not been proven. However, the investigators do acknowledge that during the process, in which dozens of interviews were requested among IDB staff, many workers expressed their fear of suffering some type of retaliation.
Claver-Carone, born in Miami in a family with Cuban origins 47 years ago, was part of the Trump administration and was known for his strong hand against Chavismo and Castroism. The current investigation delved into his divorce certificate and found no specific cause. However, in the divorce petition of JB’s ex-husband, from July 2019, he does indicate that it is due to infidelity with Claver-Carone, although she denied it and they finally reached an agreement. That was a year before they both arrived at the IDB. The president’s term is five years, so it would not end until 2025, but now the leader’s future is no longer in his hands.
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