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The Panama Papers Reading List

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Panama Papers Wins Pulitzer Prize

The honor is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the U.S. and around the world, ICIJ's director says.

Awards and recognition

The Panama Papers project, led by ICIJ and German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung working in collaboration with more than 100 media outlets, has been honored with awards and finalist mentions by more than a dozen major international prizes, including:

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Where Are They Now? A Year Later, Mixed Fortunes For Panama Papers Line-Up

One year after the Panama Papers first became an international catchphrase, here’s a globe-hopping update on the people and institutions caught up in the scandal.

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VIDEO: Twelve Months of Investigations, Impact and Outrage

A year ago the Panama Papers dominated newspaper headlines and brought now-iconic images to TV screens around the world. Since then, investigations have continued and outrage has grown.

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Panama Prosecutor Claims 'Solid Case' Against Mossack Fonseca

The law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers affair, sold shell companies and held bank accounts that were used to help conceal bribes paid across South America, a Panamanian prosecutor alleged at a press conference.

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Founders of Panama Papers Law Firm Arrested on Money Laundering Charges

Police in Panama arrested the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal, on money laundering charges Thursday after authorities raided the firm’s headquarters as part of investigations into Brazil’s largest-ever bribery scandal.

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Tax Agencies Draw Up ‘Target List’ of Offshore Enablers

Tax agencies from 30 countries convened in Paris this week to take part in the largest ever simultaneous exchange of tax information and to share results and details on thousands of investigations sparked by the Panama Papers.

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Panama’s Revolving Door Shows Global Challenge of Offshore Reform

In a country where top-drawer lawyers move freely between high government posts and law firms selling secrecy-cloaked shell companies, bringing lasting change to the offshore industry is a challenge.

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Journalists Hang Tough in Face of Backlash Against Panama Papers Reporting

Reporters have faced consequences both in nations where media crackdowns are common and also in nations with reputations for high levels of press freedom.

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Panama Papers Have Had Historic Global Effects — and the Impacts Keep Coming

The investigation has produced an almost daily drumbeat of regulatory moves, follow-up stories and calls by politicians and activists for more action to combat offshore financial secrecy.

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BVI Hits Mossack Fonseca With Largest Fine Ever After Panama Papers Investigation

The $440,000 penalty followed a six-month investigation which included on-site compliance inspections and the appointment of an officer to monitor Mossack Fonseca's operations.

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Experts Who Quit Panama's Transparency Commission Produce Their Own Report

Report's authors say that the U.S. and EU have the power to force other nations to embrace transparency reforms by threatening to cut off access to their financial systems.

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Pakistan's PM Responds to Supreme Court Hearing on Panama Papers

Nawaz Sharif defended himself before the nation’s highest court, as opposition supporters celebrated in Islamabad.

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Panama Hires PR Firm Amid Ongoing Panama Papers Fallout

A PR firm is being paid $50,000 a month to help the Panama government, while arrests, protests and more continue around the world.

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Hedge Fund Sues Mossack Fonseca For Alleged Obstruction of Justice in Nevada

Confidential emails revealed in the Panama Papers have opened a new front in a bitter court battle in Nevada involving a hedge fund led by an American billionaire, new court filings show.

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Experts Quit Panama's Transparency Committee Over Lack of Transparency

The committee was established in the wake of the Panama Papers to probe Panama's financial services industry, but now two out of three international members have resigned.

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Continent of Secrets: Uncovering Africa's Offshore Empires

Africa receives $50 billion of foreign aid money annually, but then loses roughly the same amount through illicit outflows. Can you uncover Africa's offshore empires? Play now!

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Secret Offshore Deals Deprive Africa of Billions in Natural Resource Dollars

The Panama Papers show how politicians and mining, oil and gas interests benefit from secrecy and dubious multimillion dollar transfers.

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Secret Documents Expose Nigerian Oil Mogul’s Offshore Hideaways

A dealmaker’s backstage maneuverings are revealed in the Panama Papers as he hung with celebrities while criminal investigators closed in.

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Diamond Mine with Offshore Ties Leaves Trail of Complaints

The Panama Papers reveal a network of shell companies linked to a mining operation that has been accused of environmental harms and unpaid taxes.

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Out of Africa, Into Tax Havens

As visitors come to see what’s in Africa, some safari operators’ profits head offshore.

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Reporters Warned, Inquiries Opened as African Nations Respond to Panama Papers

Mossack Fonseca targeted clients in Africa for business, but now some of those clients have become targets themselves as authorities launch investigations into the Panama Papers revelations.

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Panama Papers Credited As New EU Anti Money-Laundering And Tax Abuse Rules Proposed

The European Commission has announced it will tighten the European Union’s anti-money laundering rules and increase transparency requirements for companies and trusts.

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Venezuela and Panama To Launch Joint Panama Papers Investigation

The joint investigation will be the "first of its kind," and Venezuela's attorney general has hinted at a long list of suspects.

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European Inquiry to Call UK Chancellor, Mossack Fonseca to Testify

A special 65-member Panama Papers committee of inquiry has been created by the European parliament to investigate potential wrongdoing exposed by ICIJ's investigation.

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Mossack Fonseca's US Operations Under Pressure, Island Offices Closed

Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca’s local affiliate in Nevada has resigned from more than 1,000 companies and paid a penalty to the state amid investigations on multiple fronts.

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US States Under Pressure As World Pushes For Financial Transparency

Nevada, Wyoming and Delaware are facing growing pressure over their lack of corporate transparency, as the United States and the international community continue to respond to fallout from the Panama Papers.

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The Malefactors of Mossack Fonseca

Meet The Dutchman, the Queen of the South, the Boss of Bosses and other convicted felons and alleged wrongdoers who have benefited from services provided by the law firm.

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Panama Papers Include Dozens of Americans Tied to Fraud and Financial Misconduct

Mossack Fonseca's files include offshore companies linked to at least 36 Americans accused of serious financial wrongdoing, including fraud and racketeering.

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Beyond Panama: Unlocking the world’s secrecy jurisdictions

The 21 jurisdictions covered by the Panama Papers data vary from the rolling hills of Wyoming to tropical getaways like the British Virgin Islands. But all have at least one thing in common - secrecy is the rule.

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Panama Papers Source Offers Documents To Governments, Hints At More To Come

The anonymous whistleblower behind the Panama Papers has conditionally offered to make the documents available to government authorities.

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US Officials React to Panama Papers Disclosures With Get-Tough Proposals

The Obama administration has proposed a national registry documenting the real owners of shell companies and other measures aimed at fighting offshore chicanery.

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Iceland’s First Lady Linked to Offshore Investments

Records in the Panama Papers and the Swiss Leaks leaked files tie the wife of Iceland President Ólafur Grímsson to offshore companies and accounts.

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Coming Soon: ICIJ to Release Panama Papers Offshore Companies Data

The database, to be released on May 9, will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them.

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Cartel-Linked Suspects Arrested After Panama Papers Revelations

Uruguayan prosecutors are seeking to bring to trial at least five individuals detained on suspicion of laundering money for a powerful Mexican drug cartel.

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US Prosecutor Opens Investigation Into 'Panama Papers Matters'

ICIJ welcomes the interest from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office, but has made it clear it won't be turning over its data or taking part in any investigation.

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Banks Ordered to Provide Info on Panama Dealings to NY Regulator

More than a dozen banks identified in the Panama Papers investigation have been asked to hand over details of their communications with Mossack Fonseca.

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Art held offshore

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Pakistan's PM Leaves Country, Spanish Minister Resigns

Nawaz Sharif faces growing pressure and calls for his resignation, a Spanish minister has stepped aside, and more governments are pledging reform as fallout from the Panama Papers revelations continues.

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Panama Police Raid Mossack Fonseca As Global Fallout Continues

The search of Mossack Fonseca's Panama headquarters comes after a number of raids and official action taken in response to the Panama Papers revelations.

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Global joint investigation to be proposed at special tax meeting

Tax officials from 28 nations met in Paris to develop a strategy for collaborative action based on Panama Papers revelations.

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British PM Announces New Transparency Measures Following Panama Papers Revelations

David Cameron appeared before parliament on Monday to address concerns about his own links to offshore holdings revealed in the Panama Papers, as well as announce reform aimed at boosting transparency.

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The Art of Secrecy

Locked in the files of a Panama law firm are the answers to mysteries involving Van Goghs, Picassos, Rembrandts and other masterworks.

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Panama Papers Spark High-Level FIFA Resignation and Swiss Police Raid

Swiss police searched the office of Europe's top soccer association and a member of FIFA's ethics panel resigned following Panama Papers revelations.

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Leaked Files Offer Many Clues To Offshore Dealings by Top Chinese

Eight current and former members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top decision makers, have relatives with secret offshore companies.

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Spies and Shadowy Allies Lurk in Secret With Help From Offshore Firm

Firm helps CIA operatives and other characters — real or fanciful — from the world of espionage set up offshore companies to obscure their dealings.

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Iceland Prime Minister Tenders Resignation Following Panama Papers Revelations

The prime minister of Iceland said he would resign following mass protests triggered by reports from ICIJ and partners that he had owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands with his wife.

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Law Firm’s Files Include Dozens of Companies and People Blacklisted by U.S. Authorities

Global law firm’s customers include suspected financiers of terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferators and gunrunners.

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How Family that Runs Azerbaijan Built an Empire of Hidden Wealth

Documents peel away three layers of secret ownership in a conglomerate and lead to gold mines and overseas real estate.

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Global Banks Team with Law Firms To Help the Wealthy Hide Assets

Leaked records show that hundreds of banks and their subsidiaries and branches registered nearly 15,600 shell companies.

About this project

The Panama Papers is an unprecedented investigation that reveals the offshore links of some of the globe’s most prominent figures.

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All Putin’s Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Russian Leader

Complex offshore financial deals channel money and power towards a network of people and companies linked to President Vladimir Putin.

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Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption

Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens.

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Panamanian Law Firm Is Gatekeeper To Vast Flow of Murky Offshore Secrets

Files show client roster that includes drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders — and wrongdoing galore.

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Leak Ties Ethics Guru to Three Men Charged in FIFA Scandal

Secret documents show how deeply the world of soccer has become enmeshed in the world of offshore havens.

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Iceland’s Prime Minister Ducks Question But the Answer Catches Up with Him

He came to power after the country’s financial collapse while hiding his offshore holdings of millions in bonds from Icelandic banks.

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How the One Percenters Divorce: Offshore Intrigue Plays Hide and Seek with Millions

Firm that practices no matrimonial law nonetheless plays big role when the superrich around the globe decide to split.

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Panama Papers Wins Pulitzer Prize

The investigation grew out of five-year reporting push into the world of offshore secrecy, and has now been honored with journalism's top prize

By

Columbia University announced today that the Panama Papers investigation has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

The Pulitzer Prize Board lauded year-long investigation for “using a collaboration of more than 300 reporters on six continents to expose the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens.”

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for the globe-spanning reporting effort by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, McClatchy, the Miami Herald, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners.

articles/00Response/170403-funding-01“This honor is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the United States and around the world,” Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, said. “We’re honored that the Pulitzer Board recognized the groundbreaking revelations and worldwide impact that the Panama Papers collaboration produced.”

The Panama Papers investigation exposed offshore companies linked to more than 140 politicians in more than 50 countries – including 14 current or former world leaders. It also uncovered offshore hideaways tied to mega-banks, corporate bribery scandals, drug kingpins, Syria’s air war on its own citizens and a network of people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin that shuffled as much as $2 billion around the world.

Collaborative verve

Ryle noted that the investigation would not have been possible without the collaborative spirit of Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, two German journalists who received the original leak from a confidential source.

Instead of hoarding the trove of 11.5 million secret documents for themselves and their newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, they shared them with ICIJ. This allowed ICIJ to pull together a cross-border partnership and join forces with SZ, McClatchy, the Miami Herald, Fusion and more than 100 other news organizations to investigate the explosive documents.

articles/00Response/170410-pulitzer-02Obermayer and Obermaier, bravely supported by their editor-in-chief Wolfgang Krach, worked with ICIJ to help lead the international collaboration and shared bylines on key ICIJ stories cited by the Pulitzer Board. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, the Panama Papers investigation was also named as a finalist in the International Reporting category.

The Pulitzer Prizes are regarded as the preeminent honor in journalism. This is the 101st year that Columbia’s School of Journalism has awarded the Pulitzer Prizes. Other news outlets honored today with Pulitzers include The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail.

News of the recognition for ICIJ comes at a time when the nonprofit news outlet is blazing an independent trail for itself, aggressively seeking new funding and looking for ways to expand its partnerships to additional countries and boost its reporting and technology resources. ICIJ recently became an independent organization, spinning off in February from its parent, the Center for Public Integrity.

ICIJ was a project of the Center during the time it reported and published the Panama Papers investigation.

“We’re intensely proud of the work of the consortium,” John Dunbar, the Center’s chief executive office, said. “Few projects in the history of the Center have had as much of an impact as the Panama Papers.”

The Center for Public Integrity’s founder, Charles Lewis, started ICIJ as the Center’s international arm in 1997.

Five years of revelations

The Panama Papers investigation grew out of five-year reporting push by ICIJ, SZ and other media partners that dug into dark corners of financial secrecy havens, including the British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Those previous examinations of offshore murk prompted international outrage and official reforms. But none of them had the impact that the Panama Papers exposures have had. The Panama Papers investigation has prompted police raids, arrests and resignations of high-profile figures, including Iceland’s prime minister. Reporting by ICIJ and its partners has sparked more than 150 inquiries, audits and investigations in 79 countries and has driven new legislation and financial rules in the U.S. and abroad.

In early January, tax officials from 30 countries met in Paris to share findings of investigations triggered by the Panama Papers. Australian authorities said the meeting produced the largest ever multinational exchange of information about global tax dodging.

In February, Panamanian authorities arrested the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers investigation, on money laundering charges. Panama’s attorney general said evidence indicated the law firm may be a “criminal organization.”

Last week, one year to the day after ICIJ and its media partners published the first revelations from the Panama Papers, Panama’s attorney general met in The Hague with agencies from 15 European countries that are investigating “alleged criminal activities connected to the law firm Mossack Fonseca.”

Across six continents

articles/00Response/170410-pulitzer-03The Panama Papers reporting team began work in early 2015. Members of the team published and broadcast their first stories in April 2016 and continued producing stories throughout 2016. They pored over millions of confidential emails and corporate documents written in French, English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin and Arabic and used shoe-leather reporting to track down additional documents and verify facts on six continents.

Reporters spent months unlocking connections within “layered” offshore structures in which shell companies represented by “straw men” were in turn controlled by successions of other companies and fronts. Team members deployed software tools and used ICIJ’s online “virtual newsroom” to collaborate with colleagues in far-flung time zones – creating more than 130 discussion groups and sharing 11,816 findings, questions and other postings.

In the end, more than 400 journalists – reporters, editors, computer programmers, fact checkers and others – worked on the project.

“We’ve said it again and again: some stories are too big, too complex and too global for lone-wolf muckrakers or even individual news organizations to tackle,” Ryle, ICIJ’s director, said. “We believe collaboration is the wave of the future in global journalism. Pooling resources and sharing information is a powerful way to investigate and expose stories that politicians, corporations and organized criminals are determined to keep in the shadows.”

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