Ecuador's National Assembly Monday decided only the Specialized Committee for Constitutional Guarantees will investigate President Guillermo Lasso's alleged wrongdoings after his name came out in the so-called Pandora Papers.
The multi-front report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a list of world current and former leaders as well as a number of celebrities who have money deposits and operations at tax heavens, which in itself is not a crime but the tax evasion usually ensuing those transactions in most cases actually is.
The Plenary of the National Assembly with 105 affirmative votes resolved to require the Permanent Specialized Commission of Constitutional Guarantees, Human Rights, Collective Rights and Interculturality, to carry out the corresponding investigation of the case called Pandora Papers, the Ecuadorian Legislative announced in a statement.
The Papers are a leak of about 12 million documents showing those rare operations and Lasso's name has come out.
According to the investigation, Lasso got rid in 2017 of a group of offshore companies that he had in tax havens before running for the Presidency.
Leaked records show that Lasso transferred assets to two trusts in South Dakota in December 2017, three months after Ecuador's parliament passed a law prohibiting public officials from holding assets in tax havens.
Several world leaders, including the presidents of Chile, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, are listed on the Pandora Papers.
The Committee now has 30 days to produce a report which is to be debated on by Ecuador's one-house Legislature. The enquiry seeks to clarify whether Lasso may have failed to comply with the legal mandate of the ethical pact, which prohibits candidates and public officials from having their resources or assets in tax havens, the parliament warned.
According to the Papers, Lasso controlled 14 offshore companies, most of them based in Panama, and closed them after former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) passed a law in 2017 which banned prohibited presidential candidates from having companies in tax havens.
Lasso, who took office on May 24 has so far replied that years ago he had legitimate investments in other countries and that he got rid of them to run in the 2021 presidential elections. He added his incomes stemmed from his earnings of decades working for the Guayaquil Bank. Lasso, 65, also asked the Comptroller to review his assets and waived any secrecy right he might have had. He also invited lawmakers to pose him any question they deemed relevant, pertaining to the Pandora Papers.