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Trump nominee is voted out as head of Inter-American Development Bank

Mauricio Claver-Carone’s term as IDB president was set to expire in 2025

Mauricio Claver-Carone was the first American to hold the top job at the organization. (Tarina Rodriguez/Bloomberg News)

The Inter-American Development Bank, the hemisphere’s premier international lending institution, voted Monday to fire its president. Mauricio Claver-Carone was terminated following a unanimous recommendation by the 14-member executive board, the organization said.

The termination was first reported by Reuters.

In a statement, the IDB said Claver-Carone, whose term was set to expire in 2025, “will cease to hold the office of President of the Bank” effective Monday.

The statement did not refer to a well-publicized investigation into him. Two people familiar with the probe said it was the results of that investigation that led to the vote. The individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the inner workings of IDB or the results of the investigator’s report, which has not been made public.

One of the individuals said investigators found evidence to conclude Claver-Carone had a relationship with a staff member who reported directly to him, and to whom he gave raises totaling more than 45 percent of base pay in less than one year. Claver-Carone’s leadership of the organization also resulted in employees fearing retaliation from him, the person said.

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Vice President Reina Irene Mejía Chacón will lead the organization until a new president is elected, the statement said.

The Biden administration appeared to welcome Claver-Carone’s ouster.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department said the United States “supports the dismissal of the IDB President.” The department said 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.”

Claver-Carone had previously criticized the nature of investigation, saying in a statement to the Associated Press that the probe “failed to meet international standards of integrity that both the IDB and the region strive to exemplify.”

He had added: “In clear and direct contravention of IDB ethics rules, neither I nor any other IDB staff member has been given an opportunity to review the final investigative report, respond to its conclusions, or correct inaccuracies.”

In a statement after the vote, Claver-Carone also claimed without evidence that ousting him from his position would embolden China, the AP reported.

In June 2020, President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Claver-Carone, then a senior figure at the National Security Council whom the Trump administration credited with boosting private-sector investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. His election that September marked the first time the United States — by far the bank’s biggest donor — held the top position at the six-decade-old organization.

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Claver-Carone’s defenders described him as a reformer leading a long-beleaguered organization rife with corruption. According to his biography on the IDB’s website, he had led “a comprehensive reform of the Bank’s business model” and was “overseeing a broad effort to improve operational efficiency, productivity and transparency to facilitate better results, impact and monitoring effectiveness.”

Critics describe him differently. Investigators said there was evidence he conducted an affair with a staffer at the National Security Council, which prompted one official to warn that it posed a counterintelligence security risk, the AP reported. The Biden administration — which has sought to reaffirm America’s relationship with multinational organizations — had indicated it was taking the allegations against Claver-Carone seriously.

Michael Shifter, former president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said Claver-Carone’s lack of high-level diplomatic expertise made him an unusual choice for the IDB role. “There was a basic question of how qualified was he, given his background,” Shifter said in an interview. “There was always a cloud, or at least a big question.”

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