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Brazil to nominate ex-central banker Goldfajn for IDB vacancy

According to news website Poder360, Brazil will nominate former Central Bank head Ilan Goldfajn for the vacant president’s seat at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

As we reported in our Brazil Daily newsletter on October 7, the Bolsonaro government was keen to put forward a candidate for the position, which opened up after Cuban-American hawk Mauricio Claver-Carone was sacked for sexual misconduct.

Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes reportedly suggested Mr. Goldfajn’s name to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during meetings on American soil.

Mr. Goldfajn led Brazil’s Central Bank between 2016 and 2019, during which time he was hailed by his peers for reinstating trust in the monetary authority. He is currently head of the western hemisphere division at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Several major Latin American countries — including Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina — opposed Mr. Claver-Carone’s appointment in 2020, objecting to the fact that he was a US nominee to lead the development bank, which had always been chiefed by a Latin American. Brazil had hoped to appoint Rodrigo Xavier, the former head of Bank of America and UBS in the country, as the IDB’s first Brazilian chair.

Mr. Claver-Carone says the probe that led to his ousting him was politically motivated. A law firm hired by the IDB board found that the bank’s former head was in a romantic relationship with his chief of staff since 2019, and favored her with a 40-percent pay rise that prompted questions about a potential conflict of interest — even though her salary was in line with that of her predecessors.

The IDB directly lent USD 13.1 billion to fund infrastructure and improve health in the region last year — and Brazil could hope for a large slice of that pie should Mr. Goldfajn win the upcoming IDB election. The country holds 11 percent of votes, less than the US’s 30 percent.

A candidate must secure the support of 15 out of 28 nations (among 26 borrowing members, plus the US and Canada), but also more than 50 percent of the voting capital.

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