President Lenin Moreno has challenged those claiming that he owns offshore bank accounts and real estate to prove it.
“Those who make such accusations against me will have to show proof in court,” he said in a statement released Wednesday referring to recent charges that he benefited from offshore accounts owned by his brother, Edwin Moreno.
The president suggested that the recent charges are intended to distract attention from the “unprecedented corruption” that occurred during the administration of his predecessor, Rafael Correa. Moreno suggested, in fact, that Correa is the “mastermind” behind the controversy in an attempt to boost the chances of his followers to win positions in the March 24 election.
“The talk about my brother is a desperate attempt to make a comparison between the murky plots of Odebrecht that cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars but it is a pitiful failure,” Moreno said.
He added: “I do not own apartments outside of the country because it’s not my plan to flee. I do not need an attic in Europe to be happy,” referring to Correa’s apartment outside of Brussels, which is owned by Correa’s Belgian-born wife.
“I do not mix personal matters with the affairs of the state,” Moreno wrote in his statement. “I do not have accounts or companies offshore. As with any diplomat who resides temporarily in another country, I had a bank account in Switzerland while I served as the special envoy of the United Nations on disability and accessibility. Once my mission was complete, I closed the account and issued my full accounting report, both to the foreign ministry of Ecuador and to Dr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.”
By a law passed in 2016, government employees are prohibited from holding offshore bank accounts but private citizens are not.