Since the inception of human civilization, there’s always existed a wealth gap between the affluent with more resources and the economically vulnerable. The concept of the ‘survival of the fittest’ has been offered as a rationale to justify the wealth and resources of the filthy rich. However, clearly it doesn’t sufficiently answer the economic inequality that existed for thousands of years. Exploitation of power, instinctive greed and impulsive corruption by the privileged usurpers are found to be the root cause of thousands of years of abject poverty and unfair distribution of resources.
For a long time, the wealth of the exploitative plutocrats remained a mystery. They continued to avert public scrutiny and built a facade of legitimate wealth, which in real terms, came from illegal sources and usually sustained using unethical means. However, quite recently, with the advent of globalization, interdependent economies and advancement in technology, this mysterious bubble of financial secrecy is blurted out by an unprecedented organization known as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Internationally leaked documents revealed by ICIJ turned out to be a groundbreaking discovery that rocked the world as they exposed the systematic abuses, misuse of public funds and massive corruption by some of the powerful and respected wealthy individuals including world leaders, celebrities, politicians, star athletes, cabinet ministers, top executives, military officials, rich businessmen, members of royal family members, leaders of religious groups, government officials, famous individuals from entertainment industry, Forbes billionaires, and many more. This massive wealth was hidden in a parallel shadow economy of offshore accounts and shell companies.
There was hardly any data on this secret world. Nobody knew how it facilitates large scale financial crimes such as massive money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, bribery, embezzlement of government funds, and many more.
International leak databases released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is now the world’s biggest transnational investigative journalism project in the economic history of human civilization. It is operating with the collaboration of more than 600 journalists from 150 news media companies working in more than 100 countries with the mission to uncover financial secrecy of the filthy rich and bring transparency in the offshore world. It has exposed over 810,000 offshore firms setting up the privileged filthy rich and their foundation and trusts revealed in Pandora Papers, Swiss Leaks, Paradise Papers, Bahamas Leaks, Panama Papers, China Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks, Cyprus Confidential, and Offshore Leaks investigations.
Dismantling the secret financial world of ultra rich elites was not an easy task. It took years of time, brilliant collaboration of journalists from around the world and, of course, advanced technology. Structuring, researching and analyzing millions of leaked corporate files required dedication and lots of hard work. But the rewards were a groundbreaking contribution to expose financial crimes and start a whole new movement to demand financial transparency from the filthy rich sitting in the corridors of power and enjoying massive influence in society.
Journalists who worked on this transnational project of exposing the financial crimes of wealthy oligarchs also had to face a number of challenges. Stalking, intimidation and even threats of deaths followed them. But it requires staying true to yourself and doing what you know is the right and bravest thing in the world: Exposing crimes!
How International Leak Databases Could Facilitate AML Compliance?
This shadow world that facilitates overwhelming amounts of corruption dismantled by the ICIJ ended up having far reaching impact on the world than the ICIJ journalists and their partners could have ever imagined. It resulted in the resignations of world leaders, led to high-profile investigations and shattered the reputation of the celebrated ultra rich.
International Leak Databases now serves as a credible database for Anti-Money Laundering compliance. Before boarding a potential client, financial firms can screen them against millions of leaked documents like Panama Papers, Pandora Papers, and Offshore Leaks by employing Online Leaked Documents Screening system. Since financial firms are obligated to comply with Anti-Money Laundering compliance requirements, they can use leaked documents monitoring systems to check whether their potential client is involved in any criminal activity and exposed in internationally leaked documents. This can help organizations to detect high risk clients.
Financial firms are prohibited by the law enforcement agencies, government organizations and international regulatory bodies like Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to conduct business or offer any financial services to the clients that may be involved in criminal activities. Doing so ends up having damaging repercussions for a firm.
Given the evolving sophistication of criminal actors in committing financial crimes, the financial firms must stay vigilant and upscale their compliance measures by having International Leaks Database Monitoring.