ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- TRACE International, the globally renowned anti-bribery organization, yesterday announced The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in conjunction with Swedish Television's Uppdrag Granskning (Mission Investigate) and Sweden's TT News Agency, and The Wall Street Journal as the recipients of its inaugural Prizes for Investigative Reporting. The awards were presented at the closing dinner of The Greed Project, a three-day retreat hosted by TRACE at King's College, Cambridge, to explore the nature of greed, entitlement, impunity, fraud and remorse.
The OCCRP's collaborative investigation followed a complex Azerbaijan telecom scandal that stretched from the Azeri ruling family to the shores of Stockholm. Accepting the prize on behalf of the team, OCCRP investigative journalist and recipient of the 2016 ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award Miranda Patrucic said, "Reporting on bribery is difficult because both sides are committing a crime and therefore you almost never get sources. We hope this encourages more people to work on bribery related stories and to find new and innovative ways of proving this crime undermines not only government accountability but in a small way democracy itself." Judge Diana Henriques said of the entry, "It was bravely and persistently reported in the face of daunting dangers."
The Wall Street Journal series featured 10 reporters in 7 countries and investigated huge networks of corruption in the Malaysian government including the country's leader. Judge Donatella Lorch describes it as "a coup de force in untangling and then explaining in lay terms the complexities of these vast webs of corruption." In accepting the award, The Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said, "We are proud of our reporting on Malaysia's 1MDB fund, which has sparked investigations worldwide…the reporting has brought rare accountability to a country where the press is routinely restricted in what they can report."
Honorable mentions were awarded to Sönke Iwersen of Handelsblatt for his series on Imtech which tackled a complex scheme for bid rigging, and to Ian Urbina of The New York Times for "Maritime 'Repo Men': A last resort for stolen ships" which investigates companies using alcohol and prostitution, amongst others, as bribes to recover stolen ships.
TRACE received an overwhelming response for the first year of this prestigious award, with over 50 qualified entries from 30 countries. TRACE President Alexandra Wrage said, "The response to the TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting underscores the complicated work carried out by journalists around the world who seek to improve their communities through exposing corruption. These investigations are complex, lengthy, and often dangerous. With this award we honor those undertaking this important work."
The TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting is one of TRACE's many initiatives in support of its mission to increase commercial transparency worldwide. The 2017 Prize for Investigative Reporting will open in the fall of 2016. For more information, visit https://www.traceinternational.org/investigative-reporting.
TRACE International and TRACE Incorporated are two distinct entities with a common mission to advance commercial transparency worldwide by supporting the compliance efforts of multinational companies and their third party intermediaries. TRACE International is a non-profit business association that pools resources to provide members with anti-bribery compliance support while TRACE Incorporated offers both members and non-members customizable risk-based due diligence, anti-bribery training and advisory services. Working alongside one another, TRACE International and TRACE Incorporated offer an end-to-end, cost-effective and innovative solution for anti-bribery and third party compliance. For more information, visit www.TRACEinternational.org.