Bahamas: ICIJ Uncovers Names Behind Thousands of Offshore Companies

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) partner the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released a new leak revealing the owners and directors of tens of thousands of offshore companies in the Bahamas. The names include a former top European official.

The BahamasThe Bahamas (Photo: enzol, CC-0) The documents, firstleaked from the country’s corporate registry to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, provide the names of directors and shareholders of more than 175,000 companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and 2016.

Among those found in the registry were former European Union Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes and former Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy Carlos Caballero Argaez.

Media in Malta that sifted through the registry reported Thursday that among several Maltese found on the registry was Joe Grioli, who formerly headed the Malta Development Corporation, the Malta Export Trade Corporation and the Malta Council for Economic Development.

Unlike the Panama Papers, which included details of emails, contracts, audio recordings and other incriminating documents, the ICIJ said that the leaked documents from the Bahamas do not show what role these people may have played in the companies.

The full trove of documents has been placed online in the ICIJ’s searchable Offshore Leaks database.

"We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available," ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said.

The Bahamas documents also include the names of 539 agents that acted as middlemen between Bahamian authorities and people wishing to set up companies. Among these agents is Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers, which helped set up some 15,915 entities in the Bahamas.