Ecuador Internacional

Ecuador’s leader demands release of Panama Papers, and learns he’s in them

President had bragged his country was among the most honest in wake of Panama Papers’ release. ‘He’s not involved in any offshore company directly or indirectly,’ a spokesman says. Email by Mossack Fonseca lawyer says president was the focus of an anti-corruption inquiry

McClatchy DC - Kevin G. Hall and Cera Bergengruen 25/04/2016

Photo: McClatchy DC

Photo: McClatchy DC

WASHINGTON - In the weeks after the release of the documents now known as the Panama Papers, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called out his country’s journalists and boasted that, unlike other countries, he and his government weren’t found in the leak.

Panamanian prosecutors confirmed to McClatchy that investigators looked into an offshore company in Panama because of embezzlement concerns. And a secret email within the Panama Papers says Correa and his brother, Fabricio, were the focus of the inquiry.

One director of the offshore — who denied knowing the president's brother — has a direct tie to Fabricio Correa’s construction businesses.

“The president is a very honest person,” Omar Simon, the president’s top adviser, told McClatchy. “This is all absolutely false. And he’s not involved in any offshore company directly or indirectly.”

After the first reports from the Panama Papers were published April 3, Correa boasted that journalists “haven’t found anything” about his government. Correa’s legal adviser Alexis Mera was bolder.

“We’re happy with the Panama Papers,” Mera told the Ecuadoran daily El Universo in April 13 editions. “It has shown that the Ecuadoran government is one of the most honest in the world, there is no government functionary that has anything hidden.”

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