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Ecuadorian prosecutors investigate president’s possible tax fraud

Ecuador’s attorney general’s office has launched a preliminary investigation into possible tax violations by president Guillermo Lasso. The investigation began on the initiative of Lasso’s rival and former presidential candidate, who refers to the Pandora Papers.

Reuters agency reports.

Leader of the Ecuadorian opposition, Yaku Perez, has asked law enforcement agencies to investigate the finances and tax contributions of Lasso and his close relatives since 2013.

The Pandora Papers claimed Lasso controlled 14 offshore companies, most of which were registered in Panama.

In December 2017, he transferred his assets into two trusts in South Dakota, three months after Ecuador’s parliament passed a law prohibiting public officials from holding assets in tax havens.

The initiation of the investigation against Lasso was also approved by the National Assembly of Ecuador. However, Lasso refused to testify to parliament, adding that he had dropped control of the mentioned companies when he became a presidential candidate.

The Pandora Papers are 11.9 million documents that allegedly contain information on the offshore accounts of a number of world politicians and famous businessmen. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). More than 600 journalists from 117 countries and 140 media organizations have been involved in investigating the Pandora Papers.