March Roundup: Panama Papers Special Report

Influence Mapping March Roundup

Welcome again to our monthly roundup with stories around transparency and accountability, along with investigative journalism, studies and tools for the data practitioners. 

This month we decided to do a special report on corporate transparency, tax evasion and major influence mapping, due to the recently published Panama Papers investigation. We curated stories, resources and tools that are meant to be helpful to think about, find, analyze and visualize data of this kind.

We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas, prototypes, and interesting stories in our Google Group, hear about Influence Mapping projects in our Blog and be part of our Science Fairs.

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This is what a web of secret shell companies looks like. This is a data map of the intersection between 115,373 of the most connected entities; clients, shareholders, companies and incorporation agents who have used Mossack Fonseca’s services. (Via Fusion)

A Prime Minister resigning is the first major political fallout triggered by reports from ICIJ and partners, the Panama Papers Investigation, which found 12 current and former heads of state, 61 of their relatives, and 128 other public officials connected to secret offshore companies.

These are the first days of the largest cross-border media collaboration ever undertaken (you can read how they pulled it off herehere and here). Follow the stories by region or country here:

GlobalEverything you need to know about the Panama Papers (The Guardian)  + Panama Papers Reaction (BBC)

LatAm (SPA)“Papeles de Panamá” en America Latina: Chile, México, Paraguay, Perú, Venezuela, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and more.

Eastern EuropeOCCRP’s investigations follows Panama Papers on Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and more.

AfricaANCIR’s includes Uganda, Kenya, DRC, Botswana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and more

*For news around the globe, check out more of the reporting partners here.


A Beneficial Ownership Register for the world: The first steps: OpenCorporates just announced a partnership with Global Witness, Open Contracting Partnership, The B Team, The Web Foundation, and Transparency International to create a global public beneficial ownership register to help end anonymous companies, and the corruption and criminal activity enabled by them. Stay tuned for updates on OpenCorporates mailing list.

Panama Papers: A Call to Action (Web Foundation): Committing to transparency at the highest level by opening up government data, opening up government contracting and creating a global beneficial ownership registry are key actions to press for real change, according to the World Web Foundation.

Where are all the Americans? (Fusion): So far, ICIJ has only been able to identify 211 people with U.S. addresses who own companies in the data, which has led to a lot of people asking where are all the Americans. Fusion spoke to five experts in offshore finance to break it down.

Panama Papers: Who are the winners now? (FCPA Blog): People Power Protesters, Transparency Advocates and Anti-Bribery Prosecutors are some of the direct citizens benefited by the investigation, as FCPA blog says.

+Bonus articles published this month: 

How to hack an election (Bloomberg) / Cómo manipular una elección (SPA) Andrés Sepúlveda rigged elections throughout Latin America for almost a decade. He tells his story for the first time.

Code Is Political (Motherboard) Concomitantly, and perhaps more surprisingly, artists and computer scientists have been revealing code as a political force, using its syntax, grammar, and orthography to encourage serious discourse about social change.

World’s biggest bribe scandal (The Age, Huffington Post) A Fairfax Media and Huffington Post investigation has uncovered an extraordinary story of bribery and corruption in the oil industry, centred on Monaco-based company Unaoil. This is the story of Leighton Offshore’s pursuit of a billion dollar pay day.




Andy Kirk's collection of posts about the 'little of visualization design' respecting the small decisions that make a big difference towards the good and bad of this discipline. In each post he focuses on just one small matter (Full collection here).

Panama Papers Data: Graphs and Methodology The leak contains more than 11.5 million internal files of the company. It includes nearly 40 years of data, from 1977 through the end of 2015. You can explore the Panama Papers Key Figures. ICIJ will release the full list of companies and people linked to them in early May.

Best examples of data journalism and computational journalism projects around tax Jonathan Gray is listing projects around tax, with an initial focus on projects to come out of #PanamaPapers leak as stories unfold over the coming weeks. He also started a list of investigation into corporate tax avoidance here.

Nicar 2016 Slides & Resources


At our last Science Fair, teams behind projects such as Cargografías, Littlesis and El Universal Data form Mexico joined the discussion on how to visualize influence maps and power structures, along with Gregor Aisch, Graphics Editor of the NY Times. You can watch the Hangout here.


marchnews4 // The tool offers an alternative way to discover GitHub Gists. It allows creators to upload their work on Gists and then share it via the interface. Rather than searching code, users can browse through live examples of available Gists.

Nicar 2016 Tools

Parserator – for bulk parsing of names and addresses

CSVdedupe – Command line tool for deduplicating CSV files allows you to transform web pages into usable data. This tool is especially helpful if you’re hoping to investigate an organization that doesn’t make its data readily available for download.

Stories + Network Visualizations // LittleSis team is working on a new version of Oligrapher, that will help readers digest information in maps by walking through them more iteratively, while coupling them with narrative. This new version will maintain the possibility of manually manipulate the layout of nodes and edges as they see fit but will also present new features.




Go through the Power Players involved in the Panama Papers leak. By region, by country, in five different languages. Check out the network behind the leaders of sixty countries. (Via ICIJ)



Panama Leaks also disclosed a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn has laid a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

The offshore trail starts in Panama, darts through Russia, Switzerland and Cyprus – and includes a private ski resort where Putin’s younger daughter, Katerina, got married in 2013.

The Panama Papers shine a particular spotlight on Sergei Roldugin, who is Putin’s best friend. Roldugin introduced Putin to the woman he subsequently married, Lyudmila, and is godfather to Putin’s older daughter, Maria. (Via The Guardian)




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