Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) met on April 5 to discuss allegations made in an anonymous email that the bank’s president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, embezzled funds, according to three sources.
Claver-Carone and a staff member of IDB have been accused of embezzlement of IDB funds, a source claimed, without providing more details.
An IDB staff member with inside knowledge of the matter said that the directors had discussed hiring an outside firm to investigate the allegations and to ask Claver-Carone to step down temporarily. The other two sources confirmed that the bank’s 14 directors, its general counsel and its deputy secretary met to discuss the allegations and how to proceed in a two-and-a-half-hour virtual meeting.
The directors met again two days later, on April 7, to draft a resolution to hire an outside firm to investigate the allegations, the bank source said. However, no decision has yet been made to remove Claver-Carone from his post.
Claims about Claver-Carone’s alleged close relation with the employee could not be confirmed, which, if verified, would be against the IDB’s rules.
The IDB did not comment when asked about the meetings and complaints.
Claver-Carone, a former White House official nominated for the IDB job by President Donald Trump, did not respond to repeated emails or calls seeking comment on the matter.
These allegations surfaced just weeks after the bank’s annual meeting and just as Claver-Carone was trying to push through a capital raise for IDB Invest, the bank’s private sector arm.
Raising capital would require backing from the US, the bank’s largest shareholder, and its other members at a time when resources are tight due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and increasing environmental disasters.
The US Treasury Department declined to comment when asked about the IDB meeting.
The resolution will be sent to the IDB board of governors, most of whom are finance ministers from member countries, to allow the directors to launch an investigation. The results will be shared with the governors after the investigation is over.
Who is Mauricio Claver-Carone?
On September 11, 2020, Mauricio Claver-Carone became the first president of the IDB who was not Latin American. His selection broke 70 years of tradition and generated a controversy.
Apart from him being from the US and the candidate of Donald Trump, it was argued that his appointment created an imbalance of power, as for the first time the USA, the largest shareholder of the IDB, took over the position of the president.
Before becoming an official for Donald Trump, Mauricio Claver-Carone maintained a blog, called Capital Hill Cubans, in which he criticized every decision of the Barack Obama government on Cuba. He defended the blockade tooth and nail.
Claver-Carone, of Cuban-American origin, was the main adviser for Latin America to President Donald Trump, and remained the only candidate for the position after the withdrawal of Argentine Gustavo Béliz.
Claver-Carone was executive director of the political action committee US-Cuba Democracy PAC, the goal of which, according to its website, was to “promote an unconditional transition to democracy and free market in Cuba,” and to lobby in opposition of laws that could “finance the repressive machinery of the Cuban dictatorship.”
He was an adjunct professor at the Law Schools of The Catholic University of America and George Washington University.
He worked at the Treasury Department when George Bush was the president of the US. He was interim executive director of the United States at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In November 2016, then president-elect Donald Trump included him in the team in charge of organizing the transition in the Treasury Department.
During his time at the IMF, Claver-Carone solicited the infamous IMF loan for Argentina in 2018 when Mauricio Macri was the president of the South American country. He also met the current President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández just after the latter was elected, to pressure him not to officially invite nor accept invitations from the Venezuelan government or other state institutions.
Featured image: Mauricio Claver-Carone, president of Inter-American Development Bank, may be investigated for embezzlement. Photo: Reuters
(Cuba News) translated by Walter Lippmann, with Orinoco Tribune content