Ecuador’s president faces tax investigation after Pandora Papers

3 months ago 15

Ecuador’s attorney general is investigating President Guillermo Lasso after an opposition politician filed allegations of tax fraud against the president on the basis of the Pandora Papers.

There was no immediate comment from Lasso, who has said his tax record is clean. He did not show up to testify this week before the legislature, which has launched a separate probe into his offshore finances in light of the revelations.

In Ecuador, the secret files from 14 companies that provide offshore financial services showed that former banker Lasso, who took office as president in May, had ties to offshore companies and trusts including in Panama and the U.S. state of South Dakota.

The reporting by The Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that a burgeoning American trust industry is sheltering the assets of billionaires by promising levels of secrecy that rival those offered in overseas tax havens. That shield has insulated the industry from meaningful oversight and allowed it to forge new footholds in U.S. states.

The inquiry by a commission of the National Assembly of Ecuador will look into whether Lasso broke a 2017 law that bars presidential candidates and public officials from holding assets in tax havens.

The complaint that led to the second probe, a preliminary investigation by the attorney general’s office, came from a former presidential hopeful and Indigenous leader, Yaku Pérez. He urged authorities on Thursday to examine allegations of tax evasion linked to offshore firms, noting that the cache of records also named Lasso’s wife and children.

But the 65-year-old president has said he ended his involvement in the firms identified in the Pandora Papers when he ran for head of state, which he has done three times. He is reported to have said in a letter to the legislature that he would speak to lawmakers at the presidential palace once he was aware of all the allegations made in the case.

Read Entire Article