Organization of American States head faces probe of romantic relationship with staffer

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Oct 7 (Reuters) – The chief of the Organization of American States (OAS) is facing an internal probe into allegations he had a romantic relationship with a staff member that may have violated the organization’s ethics policies, a media report said on Friday.

The Associated Press reported that Secretary General Luis Almagro formed a “long-running” consensual relationship with a Mexican-born woman two decades his junior, citing a half-dozen sources.

Delegates of the democracy-building organization gathered in Lima earlier this week for the group’s annual meeting.

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Almagro, who has led the Washington-based OAS since 2015, previously served as foreign minister in his native Uruguay. He is separated from his wife, the report added.

The allegations came just weeks after the Inter-American Development Bank fired President Mauricio Claver-Carone following allegations, which he denies, that he had a relationship with a subordinate.

The OAS could not immediately be reached for comment and Reuters could not independently verify the report.

In a comment to the Associated Press, an OAS spokesman denied that 59-year-old Almagro was ever the woman’s supervisor, though she was reported to have had the title “adviser” to the secretary general in earlier online biographies.

“Almagro never took part in any decisions regarding this staff member’s interests within the OAS,” spokesman Gonzalo Espariz is quoted as having said.

The woman – who was not identified – has been on unpaid leave since June, the report added.

The OAS’ ethics guidelines say staff must not have intimate relationships when they interfere “with the performance of their duties or to disadvantage others in the workplace.”

It also dictates that managers must step back from “supervising or evaluating” the other individual.

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Reporting by Carolina Pulice in Mexico City, Writing by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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