Press Release: IMF Statement on Investigation of Incident in Senegal
October 26, 2009Press Release No. 09/369
October 26, 2009
In light of recent allegations involving a gift made to an IMF staff member by the Senegalese authorities, the Managing Director asked the Acting Ethics Officer of the IMF to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. The Acting Ethics Officer has reported that based on reliable information which he has received from both inside and outside the IMF, he has made findings of fact that are summarized below. The Acting Ethics Officer has authorized the External Relations Department to release the following, in the interest of transparency:
• On the evening of September 25, Alex Segura was scheduled to fly to Paris at the end of his 3-year tenure as Resident Representative in Senegal. He was asked to have dinner with President Wade of Senegal prior to his departure. After the dinner, Mr. Segura was given a gift that the President described as a farewell present.
• Following the dinner and on his way to the airport, Mr. Segura stopped briefly at the official residence of the Resident Representative to pick up his luggage. It was only at the residence that he discovered that the gift was a large sum of money.
• While at the residence, Mr. Segura told the incoming Resident Representative that he had been given a sum of money. They both agreed that the IMF Ethics Office should be informed. Given that the sum of money appeared large, they decided that for security reasons, it should not remain in the residence.
• With Mr. Segura worried about missing his flight and, concerned that there was no place to leave the money safely in Senegal, he decided to take the money aboard the plane.
• Mr. Segura flew to Barcelona, his final destination, transiting in Paris. Contrary to press reports, he was not stopped or detained by either the French authorities or the Spanish authorities.
• Upon arriving at his destination in Barcelona on September 26, Mr. Segura counted the money, and determined that it amounted to 100,000 euros and 50,000 U.S. dollars.
• Mr. Segura called IMF headquarters’ staff that day to report the incident. Discussions immediately began on how to return the money, in accordance with IMF policy.
• The IMF subsequently put the money into safekeeping with a security firm in Barcelona until arrangements could be made to return it. When the money was turned over to the security company, the amount was independently verified and secured.
• It was determined that the most appropriate next step would be for the Senegalese authorities to retrieve the money in Barcelona. The Office of the President was contacted to facilitate the transfer.
• On October 6, the Senegalese Ambassador to Spain arrived in Barcelona to retrieve the money, which was handed over to him, after the appropriate verification, by the security company.
• Mr. Segura subsequently returned to Washington.
The President of Senegal confirmed to the IMF that he arranged to have a gift of money provided to Mr. Segura. The President explained that the money was intended as a traditional farewell gift to Mr. Segura in recognition of his contribution to Senegal, and was not in any way intended to influence either Mr. Segura, who was leaving the country permanently, or the IMF. He acknowledged that the amount that was provided was a mistake.
Director, External Relations Department