Tax Evader Radar

A collective look behind intransparent company records.

In an unprecedented project, EIC network opened up its investigative work to a journalism school to jointly review and research material provided by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS).

Journalists, students and technologists worked together on a dataset containing almost one million documents from the Bahamas company registry.

DDoS acted as an intermediary for the source that leaked the material to the collective. Lorax Horne and Emma Best of DDoS entrusted EIC colleagues and German Henri-Nannen-Journalistenschule with this project.

The stories published by EIC partners, which will be listed below, reveal that through all political efforts to curb harmful tax practices and the global fight against offshore tax havens, a closer look into intransparent company registries like the Bahamas still show that wealthy individuals continue hiding their assets. It also shows how the registration methods have changed over the years and that corporate tax avoidance still poses a huge challenge for regulators.

All data used for this research is made available for further investigation by DDoS on their website. Some portion of the documents were rendered to text via optical character recognition (OCR), with mixed results. The incomplete searchable data is loaded in DDoS' native search platform Hunter for further investigations or download. A crowdsource effort to complete the text capture is happening via the new tool Xray.

The team

Initiators

Der Spiegel, Christoph Winterbach, Rafael Buschmann

Sebastian Mondial, Freelancer

Participants

Reporting

Manuel Rico, Begoña P. Ramírez (InfoLibre), Craig Shaw, Zeynep Sentek (TBS), Elena Vinogradova, Ilya.Rozhdestvensky (Open Media/TBS), Nikolas Leontopoulos (Reporters United/TBS), Blaž Zgaga (Nacional), Catalin Prisacariu (RCIJ), Dimitri Zufferey (RTS), Sara Wess, Sabrina Winter, Muriel Kalisch, Malte Born (Henri-Nannen-Schule)

Material provided by: DDoS, Lorax Horne, Emma Best

Project Guide: Christoph Winterbach (Der Spiegel)