Several prominent figures opposed to the government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa are allegedly tied to offshore tax havens, an investigation published by El Telegrafo revealed Monday.
According to the paper, the right-wing mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot, and right-wing lawmaker Andres Paez, are alleged to have connections to Panamanian tax havens.
Both Nebot and Paez have been heavily involved in the organization of recent anti-government protests against Correa.
Paez claimed that the money connected to him was the result of a “bank error” by Lloyds Bank. According to the lawmaker the bank deposited US$910,673 into his account by mistake in 2006.
Paez refused to talk to El Telegrafo but told a local radio station that he had to documentation to prove his claim. Paez has, however, made a number of very short trips to both Panama and Barbados, both considered tax havens.
The report by the state-owned newspaper comes on the heels of the massive Panama Papers leak that revealed links between tax havens and politicians throughout the world.
That leak, however, has come under heavy criticism inside of Ecuador after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the group behind the Panama Papers, stated that it would not release all of the documents obtained from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm associated with the leaks.
President Correa himself has called for all of the documents to be released. The Ecuadorean president first took to Twitter to ask for the documents, then reiterated his request during a press conference from the United Nations headquarters in New York, calling on people to mount a campaign to have the entire document released to the public.
The Panama Papers
The ICIJ has so far released only three names of Ecuadoreans accused of involvement in the scandal: current Attorney General Galo Chiriboga; former president of the Central Bank of Ecuador, Pedro Delgado; and Javier Molina, an ex-member of the National Intelligence Secretariat.
All individuals tied to the Correa government, a fact not lost on the president.
“The 'selective' fight against corruption is ... only more corruption!” wrote Correa.
President Correa then released the names of the Ecuadorean journalists who formed part of the ICIJ effort, all four work for private outlets that have been aligned with the president's political opposition.
Only a small portion of the 11.5 million documents – 2.6 terabytes worth of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database – have been released, and only certain publications have been able to access the documents.