AP: Probe finds evidence of bank boss’ affair with top aide

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Investigators say they found evidence of the former Trump The official who heads Latin America’s largest development bank has maintained a romantic relationship with his chief of staff — a bond they reportedly forged in a pact scrawled on the back of a restaurant placemat: “We deserve absolute happiness.”

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

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

Item A in the 21-page report is a “contract” the two allegedly drew up on the back of a placemat in the summer of 2019 while dining at a steakhouse in Medellin, Colombia. Both attended the annual meeting of the Organization of American States.

In it, she is supposed to outline the timeline of divorce and marriage. There’s also a “breach clause” that says any non-compliance would bring “sorrow and heartbreak” that could only be alleviated by “candle wax and a naughty box” from a seaside hotel in Claver-Carone’s hometown. Miami.

“We deserve absolute happiness. May God sever this covenant,” reads the contract, a photo of which was provided to investigators by her ex-husband, who told investigators he found the placemat in her purse when she returned from a trip.

The alleged contract is one of several details in the report that have Claver-Carone fighting to save his job. They include allegations that he had a 1 a.m. meeting in his hotel room with his chief of staff, sent her a song titled “My Soul is in a Hurry” on Sunday morning and — perhaps most disturbingly — gave her a 40 -percentage salary increase contrary to the bank’s policy regarding conflicts of interest.

Claver-Carone disputed the accuracy of the report, strongly condemned the way the review was conducted and offered no indication that he was considering resigning.

He denied ever having a romantic relationship with his longtime right-hand man, now or before, according to investigators.

His chief of staff denied the allegations in an anonymous complaint and told investigators she never violated the IDB’s code of ethics, the report said. In a written application to the investigators, she also complained that she was denied legal proceedings.

The AP does not name Claver-Carone’s aide because the report, which is marked “confidential,” has not been made public.

“Neither I nor any other IDB staff member has had an opportunity to review the final investigative report, respond to its conclusions, or correct any inaccuracies,” Claver-Carone said in a statement Tuesday.

The findings draw attention to allegations of ethical wrongdoing against another Republican at the top of the multilateral institution, former Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who resigned as head The World Bank in 2007 for giving his girlfriend a generous raise.

The Inter-American Development Bank is the largest multilateral lender Latin Americawhich allocates as much as $23 billion annually to efforts to reduce poverty in the region.

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

The U.S. is the Washington-based bank’s largest shareholder, and some in the White House have made no secret of their dislike of Claver-Carone, whose election as head of the IDB in the final months of Trump’s presidency broke the tradition of a Latin American leading the bank.

Some of the more outrageous claims made in the report could not be substantiated by Davis Polk of New York. The law firm also found no evidence that Claver-Carone knowingly violated the bank’s travel policies to conceal a romantic relationship or retaliated against bank employees, as alleged in an anonymous complaint sent to the bank’s board in March.

Still, Davis Polk harshly criticized Claver-Carone and his chief of staff for not fully cooperating with their investigation — which he considered a violation of the bank’s policies and principles.

For example, the report states that Claver-Carone did not submit his bank-issued cell phone for analysis, even though he submitted a forensic report by a consultant. Claver-Carone also did not share messages from his personal phone or Gmail account with his chief of staff, the report said.

“Particularly in light of their non-cooperation, it would be reasonable to conclude that evidence of a prior relationship and additional circumstantial evidence of a current relationship while both were at the bank constituted a violation of applicable bank policies,” the report said.

The Davis Polk report says that Claver-Carone raised his assistant’s salary by 40% in one year. It said one of the raises and a change in title was ordered by Claver-Carone a day after exchanging emails in which she complained that she was not getting enough respect from her co-workers.

“You find out. This is your bank,” she wrote, according to the report.

Davis Polk, who also led the investigation that led to Andrew Cuomo’s resignation as New York governor, accused Claver-Carone of taking a job for someone he believed he had a romantic relationship with. However, he said other executives received similarly large raises and that his chief of staff’s current salary of $420,000 is in line with her predecessor’s compensation.

When Claver-Carone was confronted with photos of the purported tablecloth “contract” during an interview this month, he told investigators 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 plan by his assistant’s ex-husband to harm her.

In a letter to the bank’s general counsel seen by the AP, the chief of staff’s divorce attorneys said her ex-husband had a history of being cruel and vindictive, which was brought up in the divorce proceedings. They said any evidence he provided to investigators should not be considered credible.

However, two independent handwriting experts, one of whom previously worked for the FBI, concluded that there was a high probability that the handwriting on the tablecloth – excerpts of which appear in the report – matched Claver-Carone’s handwriting in the bank documents. Claver-Carone refused to provide a handwriting sample as part of the probe, the report said.

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Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman

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