SOUTH AMERICA: Ecuador drops tax haven probe into president.

As published on macaubusiness.com, Wednesday 8 December, 2021.

Ecuador’s fiscal watchdog said Tuesday it had binned an investigation into President Guillermo Lasso for a lack of evidence that he had assets in tax havens when he ran for office.

The allegations that he had hidden millions in overseas assets arose from the so-called Pandora Papers revelations.

It was alleged the former banker owned 14 offshore companies, mainly in Panama, but closed them after a 2017 law prohibited presidential candidates owning companies in tax havens.

“When you work transparently, the truth always prevails,” the president said on Twitter Tuesday, adding the report by the Comptroller General showed he had “complied with the law.”

The watchdog said it closed the probe after it did “not find objective elements” showing that Lasso was a direct or indirect owner of assets in fiscal paradises when he registered his candidacy or since becoming president in May this year.

A committee of Ecuador’s Congress, controlled by the opposition, also investigated the claims against Lasso, who refused to appear before it.

The committee adopted a report noting Lasso’s “non-observance” of tax haven rules, a fireable offense.

But Lasso’s government accuses the opposition of trying to execute a coup d’etat.