The Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, admitted on Monday that he had “legitimate investments in other countries”, after being pointed out in the journalistic investigation Pandora Papers, but he said that he got rid of them to compete in the 2021 presidential elections, which he won.

“My income comes from my decades-long work at the Guayaquil bank”, one of the most important in the country, said the president in a video released by the government.

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“It is absolutely correct that years ago I had, and I want to emphasize, I had legitimate investments in other countries”added Lasso, 65.

According to Pandora Papers, an international journalistic investigation into the concealment of assets in tax havens, Lasso controlled 14 offshore companies, most based in Panama, and closed them after former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) passed a law in 2017 that prohibited presidential hopefuls from owning companies in tax havens.

“I automatically got rid of all those companies”, pointed Lasso, a tough opponent of Correa.

“I did it in an overwhelming way, without any kind of protest, delay or objection”, stated the president. If we had broken the law, “the electoral authorities would have denied, and rightly so, my participation in the last contest from which we emerged as legitimate winners,” he added.

The Pandora Papers showed that personalities and leaders from around the world – 336 high-level politicians – resorted to tax havens to hide hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Lasso, who took office in May, argued that “This should not be about where the resources that you honestly produce go, but where the money comes from that those bad politicians abroad have.”

“Where does the money come from for those politicians who demonize those of us who create entrepreneurship and opportunities, what do they live on and what do they want to return to power for?” Lasso expressed in reference to Correa, who lives in Belgium.

“Since they will never find us a bad penny, it will not be because we are honest, but because we are excellent money launderers”, Correa joked on Monday on Twitter.

“They say that information is still missing from Pandora Papers upon Ecuador. I insist, how nice it is not to have a straw tail! ”, added the ex-president.

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