AP: Probe finds evidence of bank boss’ romance with top aide
MIAMI (AP) — Investigators say they have uncovered evidence of a former Trump official who heads Latin America’s largest development bank and who maintained a romantic relationship with his chief of staff — They allegedly established the relationship in an agreement on the back of the restaurant’s placemat: “We deserve absolute happiness.”
The Associated Press obtained a copy of a confidential report from a law firm hired by the IDB’s board of directors to investigate anonymous complaints of wrongdoing by its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone.
In it, investigators said it was reasonable to conclude that the relationship between the two had existed since at least 2019, when both held senior positions on the National Security Council. The alleged relationship prompted a U.S. official at the time to warn that it posed a counterintelligence risk, they said.
Attachment A to the 21-page report is a “contract” that the pair allegedly drafted on the back of placemats while dining at a steakhouse in Medellín, Colombia, in the summer of 2019. Both attended the annual meeting of the Organization of American States.
In it, they allegedly outline a timeline for divorce and marriage. There was also a “default clause” stating that any non-fulfillment of the clause would bring “sadness and heartbreak” that could only be mitigated by “candle wax and naughty boxes” at a beachfront hotel in Clover-Carone’s hometown of Miami.
“We deserve absolute happiness. May only God be parted from this covenant,” according to the contract, the woman’s ex-husband provided investigators with a photo she told investigators he was in her purse when she returned from a trip Found the placemat.
The alleged contract is one of several details in the report that have Clover Carrone working to save his job. These included allegations that he had a 1am hotel room to meet his chief of staff, sent her a poem titled “My Soul Is in a Hurry” on Sunday morning, and — perhaps most disturbing of all — Yes – violated her 40% raise. Bank’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
Claver-Carone questions the accuracy of the report, strongly condemns the way the censorship was conducted And there was no suggestion he was considering resigning.
According to investigators, he denies ever – now or before – having a romantic relationship with his longtime right hand.
His chief of staff denied the allegations in the anonymous complaint and told investigators that she had never violated the IDB’s code of ethics, the report said. In written submissions to investigators, she also complained that she was denied due process.
The Associated Press did not name Clover-Carone’s aide because the report, which was marked as “confidential,” has not been made public.
“Neither I nor any other IDB staff have had the opportunity to review the final investigative report, respond to its conclusions or correct inaccuracies,” Claver-Carone said in a statement. statement Tuesday.
The findings reviewed allegations of moral wrongdoing against another Republican at the multilateral agency, former Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who resigned as World Bank president in 2007 for arranging Generous raise for his girlfriend.
The Inter-American Development Bank is Latin America’s largest multilateral lender, providing up to $23 billion annually for poverty reduction in the region.
Representatives of the bank’s 48 members met on Wednesday to discuss the report, but it was unclear what, if any, action they might take.
The US is the largest shareholder in the Washington-based bank and some inside the White House have made no secret of their dislike for Claver-Carone, whose election as IDB chief in the final months of the Trump presidency broke with tradition that a Latin American In charge of the bank.
Some of the more obscene claims made in the report could not be corroborated by New York’s Davis Polk. The law firm has not found any evidence that Claver-Carone knowingly violated the bank’s travel policy to cover up a romantic relationship, or to retaliate against any bank employee, as alleged in an anonymous complaint sent to the bank’s board in March.
Still, Davis Polk has sharply criticized Clover-Carone and his chief of staff for failing to fully cooperate with their investigation — arguing that it violated the bank’s policies and principles.
For example, reports say Claver-Carone failed to hand over his bank-issued cell phone for analysis, although he did provide a forensic report by a consultant. Claver-Carone also did not share information from his personal phone or Gmail account with his chief of staff, the report said.
“Especially given their failure to cooperate, it is reasonable to conclude that evidence of a prior relationship and additional circumstantial evidence of a current relationship while they were both at the bank constituted a breach of applicable banking policy,” the report said.
The Davis Polk report said Clover Carone raised his assistant’s salaries by 40% in a year. It said Clover-Carone ordered a raise and a title change the next day after an email exchange complaining about not being treated with enough respect by colleagues.
“You figure it out. This is your bank, according to reports,” she wrote.
Davis Polk, who also conducted the investigation that led to Andrew Cuomo’s resignation as governor of New York, accused Claver-Carone of accusing him of a romantic relationship with him. people make hiring decisions. However, it said other executives have seen gains of a similar magnitude, with his chief of staff currently earning $420,000 in line with her predecessor’s.
Faced with a photo of the alleged placemat “contract” in an interview this month, Claver-Carone told investigators he had never seen the document and denied it was his handwriting or signature. He said the document was fraudulent and part of a plan by his assistant’s ex-husband to harm her.
In a letter to the bank’s general counsel, the chief of staff’s divorce attorney said her ex-husband had a history of cruelty and retaliation in divorce proceedings, seen by The Associated Press. They said none of the evidence he gave investigators should be considered credible.
However, two independent handwriting experts, one of whom worked for the FBI, concluded that the handwriting on the placemat (excerpts of which are shown in the report) likely matched Claver-Carone’s handwriting on the bank documents. Clover-Carone declined to submit a handwriting sample as part of the investigation, the report said.
Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman