The Washington Post has joined scores of other news organizations in a global investigation called the Pandora Papers that illuminates the hidden world of offshore finance — a system sometimes used to hide wealth from tax authorities, creditors and criminal investigators. Led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the investigation is based on a massive trove of leaked documentation, unprecedented in its size, that exposes flows of money, property and other assets. Key stories include detailed revelations about world leaders who have made use of the offshore system; an examination of the burgeoning U.S. trust industry, which has expanded after offering promises of secrecy; and revelations about the difficulties that authorities and others face in seeking to recover assets shielded offshore. The project will roll out over several days beginning Oct. 3.
More from Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee:
Today The Washington Post is joining news organizations around the globe to bring you the first in a series of important stories. These are the product of nearly a year of reporting at The Post focused on a vast trove of documents that expose a secretive financial universe that benefits the wealthy and powerful.
The project, known as the Pandora Papers, was conceived and organized by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which obtained the records and shared them with The Post and other partners. The documents — more than 11.9 million records from 14 different offshore entities, including law and wealth-management firms — illuminate a hidden world that has allowed monarchs, government leaders, billionaires and criminals to shield their assets.
The Post decided to join this project because we felt certain that the breadth of records obtained by the ICIJ would shine a light on aspects of the international financial system that have operated with little or no oversight. A similar but narrower ICIJ investigation, known as the Panama Papers and published in 2016, revealed hidden wealth that ignited protests in several countries, forcing two world leaders from power.
The sheer scope of the records was too large for effective review by any single news organization. The partnership with the ICIJ allowed The Post, the BBC, the Guardian and others to join work together in scouring the documents, validating the material and conducting the additional reporting needed to place key findings in context.
In closely examining thousands of documents over many months, The Post and its partners have found no indication of inaccuracy or that their the papers’ release was targeted at any specific individual or government.
We have sought to provide every person and company identified in stories with the opportunity to review and comment on our findings. No one has challenged the authenticity of the documents. We are confident that our reporting meets The Post’s standards for accuracy and fairness. To minimize unnecessary harm to individuals and institutions, we have removed account numbers, metadata and other identifying information from documents before they are published.
The Post is proud to have taken part in reporting that has brought the Pandora Papers to light.