- Transparency International
- E: mhornsby(at)transparency.org
The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium was launched to accelerate the fight against corruption around the world by combining hard-hitting investigative journalism with the skillful engagement of civil society.
By developing sophisticated follow-the-money data tools and strategies, OCCRP helps journalists around the world uncover complex illicit financial schemes. Advocacy groups, in turn, are well-positioned to demand justice and more accountable governments. The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium turns headlines into action by arming civil society with the information and evidence needed to create meaningful change, whether by holding corrupt officials to account, calling for policy reforms, or generating grassroots campaigns.
While corrupt officials and criminal networks are increasingly organized and globally coordinated, journalists and civil society have often worked in silos. We believe that strategic alliances between those fighting corruption are essential if we are going to drive real change.
The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium brings together investigative reporting from OCCRP and advocacy efforts driven by Transparency International. Since 2016, it has exposed money-for-influence scandals, global money-laundering vehicles, and how corrupt officials have exploited natural resource wealth, and pushed for reforms to combat graft around the globe.
The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium links Transparency International’s 100 national chapters and an international secretariat with OCCRP’s network of investigative reporters and journalism centers. Evidence uncovered by OCCRP’s complex cross-border investigations have helped fuel Transparency International’s anti-corruption movement and strengthen its advocacy work across continents, from South America to Africa. The consortium also has a growing constellation of partners with expertise in media, advocacy, technology, and law, and is always expanding its collaboration efforts.
Tackling grand corruption means exposing the systems that allow hundreds of billions of dollars to be siphoned off from natural resources and state funds around the world, as well as addressing the ramifications for developing nations.
It means revealing the perpetrators, professional enablers, and loopholes that facilitate the illicit flow of money; fighting for key changes that have hindered progress in developing countries; and pushing to ensure accountability, good governance, and sustainable development.
Although our consortium is still growing, our current thematic priorities include money laundering across the international financial system; state capture; and the corrupt exploitation of natural resources.
The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium is dedicated to doing this vital work in impoverished countries where the impact of graft is felt the most. An essential part of our mission is to help journalists in these areas build the resources and capacity to conduct high-quality investigations.
The consortium has already driven change in several high-profile cases.
In September 2017, OCCRP’s Azerbaijani Laundromat investigation revealed a $2.9 billion money-laundering operation and slush fund run by Azerbaijan’s ruling elite. Run through four shell companies registered in the UK, with billions passing through Danske Bank — a major European financial institution that turned a blind eye — the money was used to influence European politicians, representatives of international organizations, and even journalists. Delegates of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) were among the recipients of the laundered money.
Transparency International rallied public pressure in response to the investigation, presenting European and national policymakers with evidence of reputation laundering, and advocating for an independent investigation into allegations of corruption at the PACE. Resignations at the highest levels of the body followed almost immediately. A year later, PACE’s independent external investigation found numerous breaches of codes of conduct and, in some cases, corrupt activities.
Transparency International continues to call for criminal investigations in individual countries, the prosecution of those who allegedly took bribes from the Laundromat, and the establishment of a permanent investigative body within PACE.
Transparency International also used the Azerbaijani Laundromat stories to highlight the role that Western financial institutions play in facilitating these schemes, and the need for tougher EU-wide anti-money laundering supervision.
EUROPEAN GOLDEN VISAS
In March 2018, OCCRP’s Gold for Visas investigations revealed how EU citizenship and residency were being sold on a vast scale to the ultra-rich, with few checks. Armed with cases from across the continent, Transparency International and Global Witness successfully campaigned to raise awareness about the risks inherent in these schemes among European governments.
Many European policymakers have done an about-face on golden visas in the wake of the revelations, and governments are increasingly under pressure to modify their schemes. Anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes have also addressed the risks posed by golden visas with specific policy changes.
THE GREAT GAMBIA HEIST
Yahya Jammeh ruled Gambia for 22 long years. Acting with impunity, his government looted the country’s assets, committed egregious violations of human rights, and passed repressive laws to disempower citizens.
In 2019, OCCRP exposed the previously unknown scale of grand corruption under Jammeh. The Great Gambia Heist documented how he and his cronies allegedly looted government funds during his time in power, draining state-owned enterprises, the country’s pension fund and natural resources, The Great Gambia Heist facilitated by Western professionals and foreign businessmen. On the back of these investigations, Transparency International and local civil society group Gambia Participates engaged with communities through an innovative participatory video filmmaking technique. The resulting film contains stories that serve as testimonies to the human cost of corruption and to people’s perseverance.
PARADISE LEASED: THE THEFT OF THE MALDIVES
In 2018, OCCRP published a series of stories showing how a coterie of senior officials in the Maldives leased scores of the country’s idyllic islands to tourism developers in corrupt deals. Paradise Leased: The Theft of the Maldives made huge waves in the country. A civil society partner in the Maldives contributed to the investigation, and continues to serve as a catalyst to bring about a more transparent and accountable government in the Maldives.
NEW INVESTIGATION: #Maldives tourism isn’t all swaying palm trees and white sand beaches. The truth is something far uglier. Read the new stories, #ParadiseLeased 🏝️, here: https://t.co/uk8GsZ5iNu pic.twitter.com/cRRkSaPCei— OCCRP (@OCCRP) September 18, 2018
OTHER STORIES AND PROJECTS:
The Global Anti-Corruption Consortium is supported by the governments of the United States and Denmark. We are also grateful for initial support from the governments of Argentina, Australia, and Norway.