Opposition plans to use 'Pandora Papers' to unseat Lasso, says Ecuadorian minister

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso (center), photographed at a meeting with the leaders of the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador (CONAIE), at the Carondelet Palace in Quito, on October 4, 2021 – AFP

The Minister of Government of Ecuador, Alexandra Vela, said on Tuesday (12) that the opposition in Congress, which will investigate the quotes involving President Guillermo Lasso in the “Pandora Papers”, intends to lead him to a political trial.

The Legislative Constitutional Guarantees Commission “has the objective of reaching a political judgment against the president of the republic,” Vela told Teleamazonas.

The minister added that this could lead to “a political crisis” in the country. A political judgment, under Ecuadorian law, would result in the dismissal of an employee.

The investigation into the “Pandora Papers” aims to “clarify” whether Lasso violated the law that prohibits candidates and public employees from holding accounts or assets in tax havens, according to the Legislature.

The journalistic investigation called “Pandora Papers” revealed that personalities and leaders from around the world resorted to tax havens to manage billions of dollars. Among the Latin American heads of state mentioned are also the presidents of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, and of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader.

Lasso, a former right-wing banker who took over the presidency on May 24, has defended himself against the allegations by saying that years ago he made “legitimate investments in other countries” but that he ditched them to run in the 2021 presidential election.

In addition, Lasso asked the Comptroller General of the State to examine his assets. According to a letter released by the head of state on Twitter, over the past 15 years he has paid the equivalent of $588 million in taxes.

The congressional investigation “is a question of a political nature, through which a blockade and the confrontation of political forces within the National Assembly are again produced”, said Vela.

In this regard, the minister added that the relationship between the Executive and Legislative powers “is projected with great tension” for the near future.

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