mcloudy.png
Friday September 30th, 2022 8:04AM

AP: Probe finds evidence of bank boss' romance with top aide

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MIAMI (AP) — Investigators say they found evidence a former Trump official who heads Latin America’s biggest development bank carried on a romantic relationship with his chief of staff — a bond they allegedly forged in a pact scribbled on the back of a restaurant place mat: “We deserve absolute happiness.”

The Associated Press obtained a confidential report by a law firm hired by the Inter-American Development Bank’s board to investigate an anonymous complaint of misconduct against its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone.

Investigators said it is reasonable to conclude the relationship between the two existed since at least 2019, when both held senior positions on the National Security Council. They said the purported relationship prompted one U.S. official at the time to warn that it posed a counterintelligence risk.

Exhibit A in the 21-page report is a “contract” that the two purportedly drew up on the back of a place mat in the summer of 2019 while they dined at a steakhouse in Medellin, Colombia. Both were there attending the annual meeting of the Organization of American States.

In it, they allegedly outline a timeline for divorcing their spouses and getting married. There is also a “breach clause” stating that any failure to fulfill the terms would bring “sadness and heartbreak” that could only be mitigated by “candlewax and a naughty box” from an oceanfront hotel in Claver-Carone’s native Miami.

“We deserve absolute happiness. May only God part w/ this covenant,” according to the contract, a photo of which was provided to investigators by the woman’s former husband, who told investigators he found the place mat in her purse when she returned from the trip.

The purported contract is one of several details in the report that have Claver-Carone fighting to save his job. They include allegations he had a 1 a.m. hotel room rendezvous with his chief of staff, sent her a poem on a Sunday morning titled “My Soul is in a Hurry” and — perhaps most troubling — awarded her 40% pay raises in violation of the bank’s conflict-of-interest policies.

Claver-Carone has disputed the report's accuracy, strongly denouncing the manner in which the review was conducted and offering no hint that he is considering resignation.

According to investigators, he has denied ever having — now or before — a romantic relationship with his longtime right hand.

His chief of staff denied the allegations in the anonymous complaint and told investigators she never violated the IDB's code of ethics, the report said. In a written submission to investigators, she also complained that she had been denied due process.

The AP isn’t naming Claver-Carone’s aide because the report, which is labeled “confidential,” hasn’t been made public.

"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,” Claver-Carone said in a statement Tuesday.

The findings recall accusations of ethical lapses against another Republican atop a multilateral institution, former Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who resigned as head of the World Bank in 2007 for arranging a generous pay raise for his girlfriend.

The Inter-American Development Bank is the biggest multilateral lender to Latin America, disbursing as much as $23 billion every year in efforts to alleviate poverty in the region.

Representatives of the bank's 48 members met Wednesday to discuss the report but it was unclear what action, if any, they might take.

The U.S. 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 head the bank.

A spokesman for the U.S. Treasury Department said it is closely reviewing the report and takes all ethics allegations at international financial institutions seriously.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to the IDB’s mission of addressing the most pressing issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to building a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for people throughout our region.”

Some of the more salacious claims referenced in the report could not be substantiated by New York-based Davis Polk. The law firm also found no evidence that Claver-Carone knowingly broke the bank's travel policies to cover up a romantic relationship, or retaliated against any bank employees, as was alleged in an anonymous complaint sent in March to the bank's board.

Still, Davis Polk harshly criticized Claver-Carone and his chief of staff for failing to cooperate fully with their investigation — considering it a violation of bank policies and principles.

For example, the report said Claver-Carone failed to hand over his bank-issued mobile phone for analysis although he did provide a forensic report conducted by a consultant. Claver-Carone also didn't share messages from his personal phone or Gmail account with his chief of staff, the report said.

“Particularly in light of their failure to cooperate, it would be reasonable to conclude that the evidence of a prior relationship, and the additional circumstantial evidence of a current relationship while they were both at the Bank, constitute a violation of the applicable Bank policies,” the report said.

Davis Polk's report said Claver-Carone raised his aide's pay by 40% within a year. It said that one of the raises and a change of title was ordered by Claver-Carone a day after an email exchange in which she complained about not getting sufficient respect from her co-workers.

“You figure it out. It's your bank," she wrote, according to the report.

Davis Polk, which also conducted the investigation that led to Andrew Cuomo's resignation as governor of New York, faulted Claver-Carone for making employment decisions about someone with whom it believes he had been romantically involved. However, it said that other executives received similarly-sized increases and his chief of staff's current salary of $420,000 is in line with her predecessor's compensation.

Claver-Carone when confronted with photographs of the purported place mat “contract” during an interview this month told investigators that he had never seen the document and denied it was his handwriting or signature. He stated that the document was fraudulent and part of a scheme by his aide's ex-husband to harm her.

In a letter to the bank’s general counsel, seen by AP, divorce lawyers for the chief of staff said her former husband had a history of cruelty and revenge that was raised in divorce proceedings. They said any evidence he supplied investigators should not be deemed credible.

However, two independent handwriting experts, one who previously worked for the FBI, concluded there was a high probability that the handwriting on the place mat — excerpts of which are displayed in the report — match Claver-Carone's penmanship in bank documents. Claver-Carone refused to submit a handwriting sample as part of the probe, the report said.

___

AP writer Fatima Hussein contributed to this report from Washington.

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fugitive in massive Navy bribery case caught in Venezuela
A Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history has been arrested in Venezuela
12:24AM ( 9 minutes ago )
AP: Probe finds evidence of bank boss' romance with top aide
Investigators say they found evidence a former Trump official who heads Latin America’s biggest development bank carried on a romantic relationship with his chief of staff
12:11AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Fiona
Hurricane Fiona left dozens of families stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, with authorities still struggling to reach people four days after the storm smacked the U.S. territory, causing historic flooding
12:10AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Art of the steal': Trump accused of vast fraud in NY suit
New York’s attorney general has sued former President Donald Trump and his company, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D
10:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Renowned author Joan Didion honored by hundreds at memorial
Joan Didion, a master of rhythm and of the meaning of the unsaid, was remembered Wednesday as an inspiring and fearless writer and valued, exacting and sometimes eccentric friend
10:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump docs probe: Court lifts hold on Mar-a-Lago records
A federal appeals court has lifted a judge’s hold on the Justice Department’s ability to use classified records seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate in its ongoing criminal investigation
10:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Virginia Thomas agrees to interview with Jan. 6 panel
The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, conservative activist Virginia Thomas, has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection
8:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
Sandy Hook families testify about threats, fear of deniers
Two parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre and the daughter of the school’s slain principal testified Wednesday of the fear and pain they have suffered from being targeted with threats by those who believe the lie that the shooting was a hoax
7:21PM ( 5 hours ago )
Marker in tiny Missouri hamlet denotes US population center
It’s not every day that a small hamlet in the Missouri Ozarks is in the middle of everything
7:00PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Asia stocks follow Wall St down as Fed fights inflation
Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street lower after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more
11:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Puerto Ricans desperate for water after Fiona's rampage
More than a half million people in Puerto Rico remain without water service three days after after Hurricane Fiona slammed the U.S. territory
11:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Leaders of S. Korea, Japan agree to strive to improve ties
The governments of South Korea and Japan say their leaders have agreed to accelerate efforts to mend ties frayed over Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula
9:35PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Bank CEOs warn that US economy faces 'daunting' challenges
The CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks have appeared in front of Congress and given a dim view of the U.S. economy, reflecting the financial and economic distress many Americans are facing
6:26PM ( 6 hours ago )
US has sent $8.28 billion in pandemic funds to local lenders
On the same day the Federal Reserve gave a sobering report on the U.S. economy’s trajectory, administration officials highlighted how they have kept some of the nation’s smallest businesses afloat through the pandemic
5:23PM ( 7 hours ago )
Bank CEOs warn of 'daunting' challenges from inflation
The CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks appeared in front of Congress Wednesday and gave a dim view of the U.S. economy, reflecting the financial and economic distress many Americans are facing
4:42PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Wall Street CEOs appear on Capitol Hill as election looms
In what has become an annual ritual, the CEOs of the major U.S. banks are appearing in front of Congress this week, to sell themselves as shepherds of a helpful industry at a time of financial and economic distress for many Americans
12:53PM ( 11 hours ago )
Instagram disrupted across Iran amid protests
Iranians saw their access to Instagram disrupted following days of mass protests over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police
11:06AM ( 13 hours ago )
Wall Street opens higher ahead of latest interest rate hike
Stocks are off to a modestly higher start on Wall Street ahead of a widely expected interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve
9:45AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
Fugitive in massive Navy bribery case caught in Venezuela
A Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history has been arrested in Venezuela
12:24AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Fiona
Hurricane Fiona left dozens of families stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, with authorities still struggling to reach people four days after the storm smacked the U.S. territory, causing historic flooding
12:10AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Drowning island nations: 'This is how a Pacific atoll dies'
Heads of state from Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands have launched a “Rising Nations Initiative” as they race toward solutions to a rising ocean level that will make their countries all but uninhabitable in the coming decades
12:06AM ( 30 minutes ago )
White House hosts local officials, touts impact of policies
The White House is reaching out to local governments
12:05AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Alex Jones set to testify in trial over Sandy Hook hoax lies
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is set to make his first courtroom appearance and begin testifying in a trial in Connecticut over how much in damages he must pay for calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax
12:04AM ( 32 minutes ago )