- USERS CAN SEARCH THROUGH MORE THAN 100,000 SECRET ENTITIES ACROSS 10 OFFSHORE JURISDICTIONS
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a project of the Center for Public Integrity, today released an interactive database that cracks open the historically impenetrable world of offshore tax havens.
The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database allows users to search through more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Singapore. "Secrecy creates an environment where fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other forms of corruption thrive. The Offshore Leaks Database helps remove this secrecy," said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle.
Tax evasion is a central theme of the upcoming G8 meetings, and British Prime Minister David Cameron says it's time "to knock down the walls of company secrecy" that make the offshore system attractive to criminals.
The data are part of a cache of 2.5 million leaked files ICIJ analyzed with 112 journalists in 58 countries. Since April, more than 40 media organizations worldwide have published stories based on the data. The Offshore Leaks web app was developed by La Nacion newspaper in Costa Rica for ICIJ. It will go live at 4:00am CET on Saturday, June 15.
ICIJ's investigation has shaken political and financial institutions from Europe to Canada. The news reports have:
- Triggered official investigations in the Philippines, India, Greece and South Korea.
- Prompted high-profile resignations, including the deputy speaker of the Mongolian parliament and Austria's most famed banker.
- Transformed tax-haven politics in the European Union.
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts and ICIJ does not suggest or imply that the people and companies included in the database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. The Offshore Leaks Database also is not a "data dump." Rather, it is a careful release of basic corporate information. ICIJ has intentionally withheld sensitive personal records.
After 17 months of reporting, ICIJ reporters and partners are still digging. ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come when readers explore the massive database.
ICIJ will continue to reject demands from governments that it turn over all its offshore files. ICIJ is an independent network of investigative reporters — not an arm of government.
SOURCE International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)