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Fake degree catches up to Ecuador’s central banker

Pedro Delgado

Mauricio Muñoz/Presidencia de la Republica

Amid the intense focus on Mark Carney's move to the Bank of the England and the latest monetary policy manoeuvres of the Fed's Ben Bernanke and the ECB's Mario Draghi, a central bank story of an entirely different kind was unfolding in Ecuador.

Until his sudden resignation six days before Christmas, Ecuador's central banker was Pedro Delgado, a long-time public servant who also happens to be a cousin of President Rafael Correa. But it seems Mr. Delgado was utterly unqualified for his job.

Mr. Delgado publicly acknowledged that more than two decades earlier he had faked his economics degree, which gained him admittance to a prestigious business school. He then left town, against the advice of his cousin, for what he insisted would be a brief visit to Miami to spend Christmas with relatives. When he didn't return to Quito after New Year's, the embarrassed Ecuadorean government asked U.S. officials for help to get him back. They responded on Thursday by revoking Mr. Delgado's travel visa.

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The disgraced central banker faces possible charges for dereliction of duty. A gloomy Mr. Correa declared that Mr. Delgado, who was unmasked by a political opponent who simply contacted the centres of higher learning listed on his résumé, "has done serious damage to the revolution."

It would be great to report that Ecuador had managed to prove that any idiot off the street could run a central bank. And capitalists are bound to cheer any setback to a market-damaging social revolution. But alas, Mr. Delgado was no candidate for the central bankers' hall of fame. He came under fire for an allegedly improper loan to an Argentine citizen and for his purchase of a Miami house with another questionable loan. He has denied these and other accusations of illegal financial dealings with Iran.

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