LatinNews Daily - 09 December 2021

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ECUADOR: Lasso refuses to testify on Pandora Papers after impeachment bid fails

On 8 December, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso announced that he would not testify to the national assembly on his tax arrangements, following the previous day’s failure of an impeachment motion against him in relation to the “Pandora Papers” scandal.


Lasso is attempting to put the saga of the Pandora Papers behind him, and will feel buoyed by the failure of an impeachment motion on 7 December. However, the scandal has wrought its toll on his administration, deepening divisions in his fragile legislative coalition with the indigenous Pachakutik and centre-left Izquierda Democrática. With his centre-right Movimiento Creo holding just 12 of 136 seats in the national assembly, Lasso may find that public anger at his tax arrangements has reduced his ability to build bridges in the legislature.

  • The impeachment motion was rejected with 77 votes against, 51 votes in favour, and seven abstentions. That motion, presented by the leftist Unión por la Esperanza (Unes) coalition, accused Lasso of “causing a grave political crisis” following last month’s publication of a report by the legislature’s constitutional commission which determined he broke the law with his use of offshore accounts. 
  • Whilst the impeachment motion failed, a second motion urging Lasso to appear for questioning by lawmakers was approved. Lasso is not obliged to testify – the motion was passed following the rejection of another which would have legally compelled Lasso to face questioning.
  • Also on 7 December, the comptroller general’s office announced it would shelve its investigation into Lasso’s tax arrangements after finding no “objective proof that, when he registered his candidacy for the presidency… he was the direct or indirect owner of goods or capital in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens.” The comptroller general’s office added that the US state of South Dakota, where the Pandora Papers indicated that Lasso still held funds in October, “is not considered a tax haven” under Ecuadorean law.
  • Lasso yesterday said that he would not comply with the motion requesting him to appear in front of the national assembly, saying instead that he “will send a letter with the report from the comptroller general’s office, which is clear and convincing.”

Looking Ahead: Lasso may still face some problems from the attorney general’s office, which reportedly opened an investigation into him in October, and has not since publicly commented on the matter.

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