OAS boss vows to cooperate in ethics probe of romance claim

Oct 8, 2022, 4:19 PM | Updated: 4:28 pm
Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro speaks during a press confere...

Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro speaks during a press conference at the 52nd OAS General Assembly in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Guadalupe Pardo)

(AP Photo/Guadalupe Pardo)

MIAMI (AP) — The head of the Organization of American States says he won’t interfere in an internal ethics probe into claims he had a romance with a staffer, and he insists he took no action to favor the younger woman allegedly involved.

Luis Almagro made the comments late Friday from the capital of Peru at the conclusion of the OAS’s annual meeting.

“We’re not going to interfere in any part of the investigation,” Almagro said.

The OAS chief was reacting to a report by The Associated Press that revealed he is facing a probe over his purported relationship with the Mexican-born woman two decades his junior.

Several current and former staffers, as well as regional diplomats, told AP that the relationship between the two was an open secret inside the Washington-based peace and democracy-building organization.

Almagro refused to comment on the relationship, saying he doesn’t like to discuss his private affairs.

But he said he would answer any of the OAS inspector general’s inquiries and was confident he would be absolved of any wrongdoing because he never favored the unnamed staffer in any employment decisions.

“Unfortunately I’m going to be the person least informed about this process because I’m not going to participate in any phase of it,” he said.

Almagro, 59, denied he was ever the woman’s supervisor and the OAS press office said that since 2019 she has worked in the organization’s Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy.

However, in several online bios as well as in photos with Almagro as recently as March, some of them posted to OAS social media accounts, the woman is described as an “adviser” or sometimes “head adviser” to the secretary general.

After AP contacted the woman at her OAS email, her LinkedIn profile was modified to reflect that she is no longer serving as an adviser to the organization. The OAS press office said she has been on unpaid leave since June. It didn’t say why.

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OAS boss vows to cooperate in ethics probe of romance claim