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News > Ecuador

President Lasso Admits To Have Had Investments In Tax Havens

  • TC television journalist Carlos Vera (L) and President Guillermo Lasso (R), Ecuador, 2021.

    TC television journalist Carlos Vera (L) and President Guillermo Lasso (R), Ecuador, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @Marisol_Bowen

Published 14 October 2021
Opinion

The Ecuadoran president argued that he complied with his country's law since he did not evade taxes during his presidential campaign or since he head office.

During an interview with TC television on Wednesday, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso admitted that he had “legitimate investments” in countries considered as tax havens but claimed that he got rid of all those in 2017 to start his political campaign.

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"My income comes from my decades of work at the Guayaquil Bank. As provided by the Ecuadoran law, I did not evade taxes during my presidential campaign or since I head office,” Lasso stated and urged citizens to check that he paid US$588-million taxes from 2005 to 2020 through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.

The journalistic investigation Pandora Papers recently uncovered that Lasso used the South Dakota tax heaven to make monthly payments to his family members. Upon hearing from the scandal, he fiercely rejected it, arguing that this investigation aimed “to tarnish a neat life of service to the citizenry by putting his name in a few old and decontextualized information.”

The facts, however, support the journalistic investigation. The Guayaquil Bank website showed that Lasso paid US$32.2 million less in taxes to it than what the IRS stated, and the Multi BG corporation declared that Lasso paid no taxes to it in the last 15 years.

On Sunday, Ecuador’s Congress approved an investigation to determine whether Lasso violated the law with the financial transactions revealed by the Pandora Papers. In the next 30 days, the Congress’ Constitutional Commission will prepare a report on the case to be discussed before the plenary of this institution.

The financial crimes uncovered by this journalistic investigation also involves the Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader and Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera. The former created Littlecot and Padreso offshore companies in Panama between 2011 and 2014 to avoid paying fees while managing his family's assets.

To the same end, Piñera participated in the Dominga mining megaproject, in which he used an offshore account during a transaction that took place secretly in the British Virgin Islands.

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