Home U.S. News US supports requests for external investigation of OAS chief

US supports requests for external investigation of OAS chief

US supports requests for external investigation of OAS chief

MIAMI ( Associated Press) – The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) is facing increasing calls, including from President Joe Biden’s administration, for an external investigation into possible misconduct in an intimate relationship with one of his subordinates.

The OAS’s own Washington-based inspector general said in a memo this week that it is in the organization’s best interest to hire an outside firm to investigate allegations that Secretary-General Luis Almagro violated an internal code of conduct.

The inspector general’s recommendation was based on an Associated Press report that found Almagro was in a relationship with a Mexican employee who, including on the organization’s website, was described as a “senior adviser” to the secretary general.

The inspector general said the Associated Press report follows an anonymous and vaguely detailed complaint sent to his office by Almagro himself on June 3.

The organization’s code of conduct, created to strengthen peace and democracy in America, prohibits its directors from supervising or participating in decisions that benefit those with whom they have romantic relationships.

A proposal to hire an outside firm to investigate Almagro’s behavior will be discussed during the next meeting of the 34-member OAS permanent council on Wednesday.

The United States, which contributed nearly half of the organization’s $100 million funding this year, has voiced support for an external investigation even before the meeting.

“We take these allegations seriously,” a State Department spokesman told the Associated Press. He added that any violation of OAS ethics standards “should be investigated in a fair and impartial manner by an appropriate external investigative unit.”

However, at least four members of the organization – Almagro’s native Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Saint Lucia – have publicly supported draft proposals that raise questions about the cost of an external investigation, at such a time. When there is a hemispherical body of 600 employees, there is pressure to reduce expenses.

His reference point is a recent investigation into similar misconduct allegations against Inter-American Development Bank president Mauricio Claver-Caron, who was accused of having a long-standing relationship with his chief of staff. A months-long investigation by US law firm Davis Polk found that Clever-Caron had violated the rules of ethics by supporting the aide, paving the way for the president’s impeachment.

Almagro’s repeated requests for comment on the possibility of an external investigation, sent to the press office of the Secretary-General, remained unanswered.

Associated Press

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