Ecuador Approves Tax Haven Law As Opposition Breaks Alliance

Ecuadoreans voted to approve a historic law banning public officials from having assets or capital in tax havens, reports teleSUR.

Ecuador approved on Friday a historic law prohibiting public officials from hiding wealth in offshore tax havens after voting on it in a public ballot, stirring the political alliances of the opposition.

Ecuador's Right-Wing Candidate Linked to 49 Tax Haven Companies

The leftist government of former President Rafael Correa proposed the legislation earlier this year, aiming to combat tax havens and increase the accountability of public officials.

The law was approved with 107 votes in favor and 18 abstentions, including votes of the right-wing opposition, and SUMA, the political party of Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas.

Former banker and right-wing presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso from the CREO party created an alliance with SUMA for the 2017 presidential elections.

CREO abstained from voting in the popular mandate, which was voted on by more than 55 percent of Ecuadorians.

After the vote, Lasso announced that the CREO-SUMA alliance had "lost its meaning," since "it had not brought to the legislative practice the principles that inspired it.

Lasso himself is connected to 49 companies in offshore tax havens.

Between 1999 and 2000, when Lasso served as minister of finance, his fortune went up from US$1 million to US$31 million dollars, according to an investigation by Pagina 12.

The banker — who promoted tax cuts for the rich, downsizing of government institutions and privatization of social programs — lost the election against Correa's former vice president, Lenin Moreno.

In his public role almost 20 years ago, Lasso oversaw a significant increase in the sales tax on basic goods. He then resigned in the wake of a massive banking and dollarization scandal, and the country's worst-ever economic crisis, which led to the forced migration of almost three million Ecuadoreans.

Lasso was never charged in connection with the banking scandal and his involvement in political and economic corruption.

As part of the approved law, all public servants and elected officials now have one year to bring any offshore investments back to the country or they will be removed from office for violating the policy.

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