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This afternoon, the Assembly will debate the report on Lasso’s involvement in Pandora Papers

Published on December 07, 2021

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Last week, the National Assembly began processing the report regarding the investigation of the Pandora Papers, in which the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, is named.

On Thursday, the 291-page document was read but the debate and voting were postponed to today Tuesday, December 6th.

The Pandora Papers are a leak of files that were published worldwide, of companies and political figures related to assets and capital established offshore and administered in countries considered tax havens.

The investigation at the legislative level arose after the approval of a resolution on October 7, 2021, in the plenary, in which the Constitutional Guarantees Commission was required to carry out the corresponding investigation of the case called Pandora Papers.

During the information gathering process, requests for data were made and the attendance of public authorities, experts and people involved with the matter of the investigation was also required; that is, the presence of the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, and his family, who did not attend the invitation, which was questioned by the legislators of the correista sector, represented in the Union for Hope (UNES) bench.

After the analysis, with six votes, the Constitutional Guarantees Commission determined that the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, did not observe the ethical pact approved in popular consultation in 2017, which prohibits popularly elected authorities from having property or shares in companies in tax havens.

Therefore, the Commission considered that the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 130 of the Constitution were breached, due to serious social upheaval and impact on the popular mandate on tax havens that facilitate structures that affect the economic and tax interest of the State.

Consequently, it recommended that the President be removed from office, which generated political reactions and the government sector, represented in the National Agreement Bank (BAN), came out in his defense; while the blocks of the Democratic Left, Pachakutik and the Christian Social Party warned that the country is not experiencing an internal commotion or political crisis that motivates an impeachment.

The Commission recommended that a resolution of the plenary session of the Assembly be approved in which, within a maximum period of eight days, the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, appear before the plenary session of the National Assembly to comply with the delivery of the requested information and answer the questions of the plenary session.

And, that a resolution be approved by which the secrecy of all the information that has been classified as reserved by the State institutions related to the transactions, assets and ongoing investigations related to Guillermo Lasso Mendoza and others is lifted. Likewise, that the plenary session of the Assembly informed all State institutions that the President of the Republic had publicly and in writing renounced the secrecy of his accounts.

In addition, it was requested that the Executive and the Constitutional Court be exhorted to accelerate the ratification process of the tax information exchange agreement with the United States.

After (if) the President appears at the plenary session of the Assembly, and once the required information has been received, the Guarantee Commission will analyze said information and the results of the appearance and will present a report to the plenary session of the National Assembly in merit of this report and file.

The Commission also said that the authorities who did not appear or did not provide the information required by the Constitutional Guarantees Commission within the current investigation process be proceeded with political prosecution.

It was also recommended that the report be sent to the State Attorney General’s Office, the State Comptroller’s Office, Internal Revenue Services, and the Superintendency of Banks.

Political positions

The debate on this case will begin today, Tuesday, December 7, starting at 3:30 p.m., but legislators such as Alejandro Jaramillo (ID) says that there is no reason to remove the President; however, he is in favor of him attending the plenary session to present his version of the case.

He also called on the President to step aside from the threats and complaints against the legislators, that Ecuador needs peace and tranquility, and that this is not the time for crossed death, but rather to work to generate employment and health.

Eitel Zambrano (BAN) stated that the report does not have legitimacy, because it is intended to link the issue of social upheaval to generate the removal of the President of the Republic, and the requirements are not met. That BAN will maintain a firm position to defend the legitimacy of the President.

Correista Juan Lloret said that the report on Pandora Papers is a responsible work of the Commission in which the management of goods, resources and capital in tax havens is revealed. That the companies and resources of the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, were in the hands of third parties, which violates the law of the ethical pact.

He said that his party will insist on the presence of the head of state in the plenary session of the legislature to tell his position about Pandora’s papers. And that the report be sent to the control entities and the justice system so that independent investigations can be carried out.

From the PSC, Jorge Abedrabo said that they do not support the removal of the President of the Republic based on a political and not a technical report. That if there are issues in the report that should be investigated, they should go to the Attorney General’s Office and the State Comptroller’s Office.

Virgilio Saquicela (BAN), first vice president of the Assembly, said that the plenary session has already been called for today, when the debate and voting will open. This case must be closed before December 15th, because the next day the assembly members will take up the legislative vacancy, he said.

Saquicela, who presented a minority report on this issue, maintained that of the twelve million documents discussed in the Pandora Papers case, not one was read by the Constitutional Guarantees Commission, which carried out the investigation about the alleged involvement of the chief executive in this case. That there are no indications or presumption and less evidence to conclude that President Guillermo Lasso has been linked to tax havens on the date of the registration of the presidential candidacy.

Legislator Édgar Quezada, from the Pachakutik bloc, commented that there are still no agreements on the destination that the majority report will have, which may well be approved with certain modifications and the documentation submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Comptroller’s Office.

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