Role of the Superintendencia de Bancos; reports linking this agency to corruption in private banks; involvement of high-ranking government officials and bank executives dismissed or charged as a result of investigations into such corruption (1997-1999) [ECU37063.E]

Various sources refer to the Superintendencia de Bancos as the government agency responsible for monitoring and controlling banking activity in Ecuador. The Executive Control Office of the Presidency of Ecuador proposes in its current anti-corruption plan a reorganization of the Superintendecia, and a guarantee of its independence and autonomy, so that it may carry out a "professional and objective supervision and control of financial and banking institutions" (que permita una gestión de supervisión y control profesional y objetiva de las entidades bancarias y financieras) (OCFE 2001).

Please find attached an article that describes the nature and extent of the banking crisis and corruption cases in Ecuador during the period in question, including references to some of the most prominent cases and persons involved.

The Commission for the Civic Control of Corruption (CCCC) of Ecuador reports in several of its press bulletins a number of investigations involving banks and the Superintendencia. For example, the CCCC reports that the Superintendencia had the duty of monitoring and controlling the activity of financial institutions that were found to have engaged in alleged cases of fraud, and recommended that the Public Ministry indict banking authorities of involvement in the Fondo Vision fraud case by failing to act (presunta participación por omisión) (CCCC 29 June 2000). In November 2000 the CCCC reported that inadequate information provided to it by the Superintendencia de Bancos had prevented adequate investigation related to the Filanbanco and Pacífico S.A. cases (ibid. 30 Nov. 2000). In April 2000 the CCCC reported that despite investigations involving the Casa de Valores Guerrero y Hermana S.A. and the Sociedad Financiera Principal initiated in March 1997 by the late Anticorruption Commission and followed by its successor (the CCCC), the Superintendencia de Bancos, public attorneys and judges had all failed to act appropriately on these cases (ibid. 13 Apr. 2000). Reportedly, the answers and explanations provided by the Superintendencia and other authorities on these two cases had actually worsened the situation and led to increased demands for punishment and restitution to the victims of the financial miscarriages (ibid.).

The CCCC reports cases in which the Superintendencia de Bancos had delayed or not provided the Commission with information required, in some cases more than six months or more than one year before (ibid. 1 Feb. 1998; 2 Mar. 2000). In the ongoing investigation of cases involving Filanbanco, Banco del Progeso, and the Popular, Pacífico and Previsora banks, the CCCC had gone for more than a year without receiving complete information that it had requested from the Superintendencia de Bancos (ibid. 10 Nov. 1999).

Members of the CCCC were replaced on 23 February 2000; the CCCC then continued to investigate a number of pending cases or cases under previous investigation, including cases involving the Banco Continental as well as a speculation scheme that took place during a banking holiday and which apparently benefited a number of institutions and individuals, including public officials and authorities (ibid. 30 Mar. 2000). The CCCC, however, does not appear to have enforcement powers of its own: in a fraud investigation involving the bankruptcy of the Banco de Prestamos, in which it found evidence of "administrative responsibility" of an official of the Superintendencia de Bancos, the CCCC could only request the then-head of the Superintendecia de Bancos, Dr. Juan Falconí Puig, that his institution take appropriate action against its official (ibid. 13 July 2000). Later in 2000 Mr. Falconí had reportedly faced a "political trial" before Congress, and the CCCC had requested information that would lead to an investigation of Mr. Falconi (ibid. 16 Nov. 2000). One report names Lic. (licenciado) José Morillo as Mr. Falconí's predecessor, as head of the Superintendencia de Bancos in early 1998 (ibid. 1 Feb. 198).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Comisión de Control Cívico de la Corrupción (CCCC), Quito. 30 November 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 45. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 16 November 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 42. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 13 July 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 22. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 29 June 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 20. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 13 April 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 7. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 30 March 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 6. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 2 March 2000. Boletín de Prensa No. 2. anticorrupcion/bole-65.htm [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 10 November 1999. Boletínn de Prensa No. 55. anticorrupcion/bole-55.htm [Accessed 8 May 2001]

_____. 1 February 1998. Boletín de Prensa No. 43. [Accessed 8 May 2001]

Oficina de Control de la Función Ejecutiva (OCFE), Quito. 2001. "Superintendencia de Bancos." [Accessed 8 May 2001]


Weekly News Update on the Americas [New York]. 16 April 2000. "Ecuadoran Judge Threatened by Fugitive Bankers?" ( [Accessed 17 April 2000]