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Panama paper trail goes online with massive searchable database

You'll be able to search one of the world's biggest troves of leaked documents. With a web this complicated, it's little wonder the corporate underbelly stayed hidden for so long.


One of the biggest databases of leaked documents is hitting the Internet, and what lies within is a massive and complicated web of corporate ownership that spans the globe.

The ICIJ spent 15 months analysing leaked documents to make links between different offshore entities.


The Panama Papers contain more than 11.5 million files, analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and scores of reporters across dozens of countries. The new data dump, which goes online Monday at 2 p.m. ET, is just part of the picture, detailing the relationships between individuals, companies and offshore entities.

Think of it as a searchable corporate registry. But in this case, it's a network made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies, with seemingly endless links criss-crossing from Australia to Zimbabwe. The question now is which of these links can be used to prove the companies involved were attempting to hide massive wealth overseas.

While there's no evidence that any of the entities have acted illegally, the "John Doe" behind the leak argues the data dump exposes the names behind growing income inequality, saying "it doesn't take much to connect the dots."

The papers, taken from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca's servers, first leaked in early April. They caused a swift backlash, leading to Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigning after his offshore dealings and usage of tax havens were revealed.

If you're keen to rifle through the Panama Papers (and the ICIJ is welcoming citizen journalism), be prepared to be inundated.

With countless unnamed entities and more than a million spreadsheet entries, there's a reason why it's taken this long to uncover the "politicians, criminals and the rogue industry that hides their cash."

Correction: This story initially misreported the timing of the new release of information to the ICIJ database. The release was set for 2 p.m. ET on Monday, May 9.