International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – ICIJ, is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories. They are worldwide recognized for these investigative stories that are released as leaked documents. Some of their well-known stories are The Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Bahamas Leaks and Offshore Leaks.
The Panama Papers is a massive leak of around 11.5 million documents with 2.6 terabytes in size compiled by more than 100 newspapers expose secret offshore financial dealings of aides to powerful global leaders and celebrities in sports and show business. It exposed the internal operations of one of the world’s leading firms in incorporation of offshore entities, Panama-headquartered Mossack Fonseca. It contains nearly 40 years of records, from 1977 through the end of 2015. It includes information about some 214,488 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. It was obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with ICIJ and media partners. The data contains a few incorporations before 1977, but they are sporadic and represent less than 1% of the companies. The data shows that Mossack Fonseca worked with more than 14,000 banks, law firms, company incorporators and other middlemen to set up companies, foundations and trusts for their customers. It is the biggest leak of its kind ever.
Paradise Papers, another massive leak containing a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents released by a Bermuda based Law Firm Appleby. It has blown cover from huge number of shell companies and their tax havens. They contain the names of more than 120,000 people and companies involved. These include some big names, as it includes 120 World Politicians from 19 jurisdictions. From US alone it has over 31000 mentions (individuals and companies). At 1.4 terabytes in size, this is second only to the Panama Papers as the biggest data leak in history. A total of 381 journalists from 67 countries have been analyzing the material.
The Bahamas Leaks are 1.3 million internal files of 38 gigabytes in size from the company register of the Bahamas. It provides data on 175,888 shell companies and trusts that were established in the Bahamas between 1990 and 2016. This leak showed that a number of current and former and current high-level politicians were respectively directors, secretaries, or presidents of these Bahamian Shell companies.
In total there are 785,000 offshore companies, foundations and trusts from the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks, the Bahamas Leaks and the Paradise Papers investigations from 200 countries. These are truly massive releases with tremendous global implications. The enormous size of these databases makes it extremely difficult to know or search the entities involved or mentioned in these leaks. Knowing if and how these entities are connected is of immense value but with the absence of a tool that can do so it has so far been out of the reach for majority of the parties interested until now. At DSS our motto is “Make Lives Better”. Staying true to this commitment we have now made our graphing engine “Visualize Connections for ICIJ Databases” public that operates on top of a comprehensive database that includes the latest updates from all these sources and allows our users to search and graph entities in a visual manner.