Drawing from a trove of 2.5 million secret files, a group of international journalists has exposed hidden dealings of politicians, con artists and the mega-rich in more than 170 countries, including India.
Described as perhaps the largest cross-border journalism collaboration in history, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) claimed to have laid bare the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents.
Washington-based ICIJ said on Wednesday that it worked with 86 investigative journalists from 46 countries, including India, to produce “Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze”, the largest investigative reporting project in its 15-year history.
The report provides what ICIJ called “a transparent look into the secret world of tax havens and the individuals and companies that use and benefit from them.”
However neither the ICIJ nor the Centre for Public Integrity, a Washington DC-based non-profit organisation that launched the project in 1997, gave away details relating to specific countries barring a few.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, ICIJ said.