To investigate corruption, journalists and activists often need to follow obscure paper trails that stretch across several countries. This kind of research requires time, money and foreign language skills that are often out of reach. In the video included in this article, investigative journalist Paul Radu, talks about a web based project that his organisation has developed to combat the barriers that too often prevent cross-border investigations into crime and corruption.
The Investigative Dashboard is an online platform developed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that enables journalists to ‘follow the money’ across borders. It acts as a portal into worldwide business registers as well as official and hacker generated databases. It also serves as a ‘research desk’ at the disposal of investigative reporters who need assistance in tracking down companies operations across countries.
In this way, the Investigative Dashboard is a one-stop-shop for investigators who can use the portal to access hundreds of databases that detail company records and online and offline court records from nearly every country in the world. This website also provides step-by-step information on how to access this data using custom designed tools and tutorials. Through the Investigative Dashboard journalists and activists can opt to either complete their own research or, if they unable to do this, they can submit requests for expert assistance to locate data on a company or an individual from the project’s professional researchers.
In the below video, the Executive Director of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project Paul Radu, explains the problem and opportunity the Investigative Dashboard project is addressing.
Since the project started earlier this year, 500 requests have been lodged by investigators seeking the assistance of professional researchers and all of these requests have been satisfied. Paul Radu says that the user base of the Investigative Dashboard is expected to rise since their public re-launch in New York in October.
Examples of effective uses of Investigative Dashboard
- The Investigative Dashboard was used to help expose Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and his accomplices, who stole and channeled abroad a very large amount of Egypt’s public money. As a result of these investigations, some assets were frozen as court cases were lodged. See this video for more information about Ali Zalat and Abdel Rahman Chalabi’s investigation.
- The Investigative Dashboard supported an in-depth investigation into Azerbaijan’s Presidential family who secretly owned mobile phone and internet companies, banks, gold mines and other assets, both in the country and abroad. See this video for more information about Khadija Ismayilova’s investigation.
Paul Radu is the Executive Director of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and is an investigative reporter from Romania.
- Read more about the Investigative Dashboard in this article.
- Watch this video in Boing Boing to find out more about using the Investigative Dashboard.
- Tactical Tech featured Paul’s work on the first episode of Exposing the Invisible. This episode looks at methods for investigating corruption and organised crime.
- Visual Investigative Scenarios was developed as a visualisation platform to help investigators understand and explain corruption and organised crime by using simple visual language.
- Follow the Money: a Digital Guide for Tracking Corruption.
- FAIR Legal Guide for Investigative Journalism.
Video interview by Lucy Chambers. Additional research and development by Tanya Notley.