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Investigation into offshore tax havens challenges powerful hidden interests

Map: key tax haven clients in the world
Map: key tax haven clients in the world

Following the 4 April 2013 publication of findings from the analysis of millions of leaked documents about offshore companies and tax havens, Reporters Without Borders hails the journalistic investigation of leaked data troves and the major progress it represents in the emergence of a journalism capable of confronting powerful hidden private sector interests.

"The conjunction of whistle-blowers and investigative journalists acting as democracy watchdogs makes it possible to challenge a skilful network of secrecy with often planetary ramifications," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. "These new transparency tools will help to combat the embezzlement of public funds, the fraudulent acquisition of fortunes and corruption."

Just as Reporters Without Borders saw the positive effects that the WikiLeaks revelations had on the fight against repressive regimes, so it now welcomes the work that has been carried out by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with funding from the Centre for Public Integrity.

The findings published on 4 April by 38 news organizations around the world were based on 15 months of research and analysis of more than 2.5 millions leaked files. The work was led by the ICIJ's network of investigative journalists and mobilized more than 86 journalists in 46 countries.

The Swiss daily Le Matin said the leaked data, which includes emails, contracts, passport photos and accounts, contains information about more than 122,000 offshore companies and trusts linked to at least 130,000 people in 140 countries.

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