Announcements

Call for Nominations for 2019 Corrupt Person of the Year Award

OCCRP is accepting nominations for the 2019 Person of the Year in Organized Crime and Corruption. Please nominate the global figure you believe has earned the title of OCCRP’s “person of the year’’ based on their own corrupt behavior or their “contribution” to organized crime and corruption anywhere in the world this year.

Police Files in Kuciak Murder to Be Opened to Journalists

We at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and our member centers were shocked by the brutal murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiance, Martina Kušnírová, on Feb. 21, 2018.

A tribute to Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Credit: OCCRP)A tribute to Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Credit: OCCRP)

OCCRP Statement on Cyprus Government Response to Recent Investigation

The Cypriot government responded on Saturday to an OCCRP investigation from Aug. 14. Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou described the report as “libel” and said “it did not correspond to reality.” The story reported that a law firm established and co-owned at the time by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades facilitated transactions with companies that are part of the Troika Laundromat, a secretive financial vehicle that has been used to carry out financial crimes.

Credit: Edint PasovicCredit: Edint Pasovic

Libel is defined as inaccurate information that defames a person. But the report cannot constitute libel, as it relates only facts backed by documented evidence. We stand by our reporting.

The OCCRP story in question reports that:

(a) the law firm established by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in the 1970s, of which he was a co-owner until February 2013, and of which his two daughters are now shareholders 

(b) facilitated transactions carried out by Batherm Ventures Limited and Matias Co. Limited, with Delco Networks S.A. and Gotland Industrial Inc., companies that were major players in the Troika Laundromat,

(c) which, in turn, is known to be a Russian-controlled financial vehicle that has been used to carry out financial crimes, including money laundering, tax evasion, bribes, and concealment of assets, many for senior leaders of politics and business in Russia.

(d) Mr. Anastasiades was a partner in the firm at the time these transactions took place.

(e) All the above are facts documented in the story and past OCCRP reports.

As a professional news organization, OCCRP takes accuracy extremely seriously. As with all our investigations, this story went through a rigorous fact-checking process. If any facts reported in the story are found to be in error, OCCRP will make the necessary correction. No one has denied any of these facts, and all are supported with documents OCCRP obtained. 

Both Mr. Anastasiades and the law firm, including every single one of its shareholders, were offered an opportunity to comment on the findings of the investigation several weeks ahead of publication. None of them opted to do so. 

Thank a Whistleblower

When people think of whistleblowers they think of Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg.

Yet whistleblowers seldom gain fame. Most remain anonymous by choice, content to provide investigative reporters with facts and evidence for crucial stories and then simply fade away.

WhistleWhistle (Photo: Zephryis BY CC 3.0)At some level, almost every journalist’s source is a whistleblower. Million-page document dumps are important, but so is disclosure of one page or even just one fact that a government or oligarch doesn’t want you to know.

Seldom acknowledged and almost never thanked, insiders who blow the whistle are the unsung heroes of a just society. Without them, corruption would run rampant, public institutions could evade accountability and the rapacious would go unchecked.

Threats to Press Freedom Undermine Investigation of Dark Money

UNESCO’s celebrations for World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa this week are meant to recognize an important turnaround for press freedom in one of the world’s least free countries. Since coming to power last year, Ethiopia’s new prime minister Abiy Ahmed has begun to reform its oppressive political system, releasing imprisoned journalists and lifting bans on independent outlets.

Protesters mark World Press Freedom Day in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)Protesters mark World Press Freedom Day in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The Omidyar Group’s Luminate Invests in OCCRP

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) enthusiastically welcomes a promising new partnership with Luminate, the global philanthropic organization focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies. Luminate’s investment of up to $800,000 over two years comes at a pivotal time for OCCRP as we work to expand our investigative reporting globally and bolster our in-house tech tools and organizational capacity. This critical core support will help OCCRP to strengthen the platform of editorial, technical, legal, and security services we provide to our network of 45 member centers around the world and to advance our wider mission of building greater accountability by exposing the abuse of power at the expense of the people.

LUMINATE LOGOPhoto: Luminate

“Funding for investigative reporting and its global development is vital to both journalism and democracy. We thank Luminate for their support and look forward to working together as we take the next step,” said OCCRP Editor-in-Chief Drew Sullivan. “Corrupt officials and the globalized criminal services industry have tens of billions of dollars at their disposal. Those working to turn the tables operate on much less. We must all be smarter, more committed, and more innovative in our efforts to make a difference and this kind of core support helps OCCRP to do that at a critical time.”

“Today’s world needs journalistic watchdogs that transcend borders to expose organized crime and corruption and to hold those in power to account,” said Nishant Lalwani, Director at Luminate. “OCCRP has proven to be especially effective at bringing analytical power to detecting corruption and crime patterns not easily visible to the human eye. We’re excited to see OCCRP grow as an organization capable of supporting an increasingly global network and independent media at a time of unrelenting threats.”

Formerly the Government & Citizen Engagement initiative at Omidyar Network, Luminate launched this month as a global philanthropic organization whose investees and grantees deliver impact in four critical and connected areas that underpin strong societies – Civic Empowerment, Data & Digital Rights, Financial Transparency and Independent Media. The focus of Luminate’s work on independent media is to support and defend a vibrant, free press that uncovers the truth and holds power to account.

Luminate was established in October 2018 by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay and is part of The Omidyar Group.

For more information please contact Stella Roque, Chief Communications Officer at stella@occrp.org

Europe Should Protect Independent Media in Copyright Reform

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) deems copyright reform necessary for meeting the demands of the digital age and to ensure publishers can more effectively protect their content online. But the proposed Articles 11 and 13 of the current draft of the Copyright Directive, to be voted on by the European Parliament (EP) tomorrow, could significantly harm independent media – and investigative journalism.

Marten Bjork, UnsplashPhoto by: Marten Bjork, Unsplash