Update to: The INA Papers case tarnishes Moreno’s legacy
Published: Volume 6, issue 19
The Prosecutor’s Office revived the previous investigation, which was opened in 2019, against former President Lenín Moreno, his family and circle of friends. The US banking system is featured in the case.
Almost three years after the preliminary investigation was opened, on February 11, 2022, the Prosecutor’s Office raided several properties in Guayaquil and Quito. The proceedings are related to the case called the Ina Papers.
The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating an alleged crime of bribery and is collecting evidence for a possible formulation of charges. The initial hypothesis is that between 2010 and 2018, a network of offshore companies operated for the management and collection of bribes in the circle close to former President Lenín Moreno.
One of the raids was in the offices of Comercial Recorsa. This entity is managed by businessman Conto Patiño, who is a friend of Moreno.
The case originated with a series of publications by Fernando Villavicencio, made between 2018 and 2019. Villavicencio is now a member of the Assembly and chairs the Oversight Commission.
Moreno is no longer President of the Republic and after several months of residence in the United States, he left that country to move to Paraguay where he will hold a diplomatic post related to disabilities.
Moreno’s departure from the United States has not been the subject of further explanation. However, it comes weeks after the US Embassy in Ecuador withdrew the visa of Jorge Acosta, Moreno’s lawyer in the Ina Papers case.
America enters the scene
Among the documentation that Villavicencio compiled on this plot, is a transfer of money in the banking system of the US.
In 2015, a Swiss account held by Rocío González made several transactions, some of the beneficiaries being Rosangela Adoum, Julio Bueno and Eduardo Mangas, who later became part of Moreno’s presidential cabinet.
In October 2016, weeks after Moreno returned to Ecuador to face his presidential campaign, his wife closed an account at the Post Finance bank in Switzerland and transferred the balance to an account at Bank of America in the United States, in the name of Irina Moreno (daughter of the former president).
When the case exploded in April 2019, Moreno (then President) accepted the existence of an offshore company, INA Investment, and said that it was created by his brother Edwin Moreno.
According to the former president, that company was created so that his brother could collect a loan he made to Xavier Macías, Conto Patiño’s son-in-law. In addition, he said that the money for that loan had come from his brother’s 10 years of work in the United States.
In 2020, the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office requested information from Switzerland about Moreno and Rocío González. But that country did not deliver international criminal cooperation.
The case, which was denounced by the La Fuente portal, refers to an alleged link between Lenín Moreno, through his brother, and the offshore company INA Investment. The name of the company is presumed to be an acronym for the names of Moreno’s daughters: Karina, Irina and Cristina.
Moreno has denied the accusations and, in early May 2019, asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the complaint made by the portal.
The Supervisory Commission of the Assembly prepared a report on the case and sent it to the Internal Revenue Service, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Financial Analysis Unit, and the Comptroller’s Office.
The main irregularity detected by the Control Commission is the alleged transfer of $18.3 million by the Chinese company Sinohydro, builder of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, to the firms Recorsa SA and Comercial Recorsa CA, owned by the businessman Conto Patiño.
The Commission also recommended investigating the company INA Investment, established in Panama by Edwin Moreno, brother of former President Lenín Moreno, for its relationship with Xavier Macías Carmigniani, Conto Patiño’s son-in-law.
That company would have paid $19,000 for some furniture that arrived at the apartment where Moreno lived in Switzerland when he was representing the UN. The funds for the purchase of an apartment in Alicante, Spain came from the same INA Investment account.