Likely Largest Journalism Collaboration In History
By Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara and Michael Hudson
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists today launches the next part of a multi-year project aimed at stripping away the biggest mystery associated with tax havens: the owners of anonymous companies.
Drawing from a trove of 2.5 million secret files, ICIJ led what may be the largest cross border journalism collaboration in history.
ICIJ’s investigation opens the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con artists, and the mega-rich in more than 170 countries.
Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze is ICIJ’s largest investigative reporting project in its 15-year history.
It lifts the curtain on the offshore system and provides a transparent look into the secret world of tax havens and the individuals and companies that use and benefit from them.
The files identify the individuals behind the covert companies and private trusts based in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, Singapore and other offshore havens. They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as Russia corporate executives, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Wall Street fraudsters, international arms dealers and families and associates of long-time dictators.
Among the key findings:
Government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.
The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people.
Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.
A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct.
Ponzi schemers and other large-scale fraudsters routinely use offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains.
To Read the Rest and to Access the Projects