Investigating the Panama Papers
By Elaine Ramirez, N3Con Planning Committee
The Panama Papers, a global whistle-blowing investigation involving an unprecedented document leak of 2.6 terabytes, broke records not only for the massive data size and range of high-profile figures implicated, but also the scope of involvement to get the story.
The global project brought together journalists from over 100 news outlets in tight secrecy for over a year to comb through more than 4.8 million emails, 3 million database files, and 2.1 million PDFs from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to determine whether leading figures from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi were using secret tax havens.
On Saturday, May 28, Korea Center for Investigative Journalism president Yong-jin Kim, Kyodo News reporter Yasuomi Sawa and New York-based freelance journalist Scilla Alecci will discuss their use of technology to comb the biggest data leak in history and collaborate with hundreds of reporters worldwide and the Panama Papers’ implications for the future of investigative journalism.
Kim led the South Korean team that investigated 195 Koreans implicated in Mossack Fonseca documents. Among them was Roh Jae-heon, son of former president Roh Tae-woo, who created three paper companies in the British Virgin Islands.
Alecci is part of the Japanese team that investigated Panama-based shell companies created by Makoto Iida and Juichi Toda, the founding fathers of the country’s security industry, and Toshiyuki Miyamoto, who was fined for scamming dozens of people out of more than $3 million.
Meanwhile, Sawa spoke to a Japanese source who was implicated in the files and described how easy it was to funnel money into tax havens in Seychelles and even within Japan.