This database contains information on more than 800,000 offshore entities that are part of the Pandora Papers, Paradise Papers, Bahamas Leaks, Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks investigations. The data links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.
The database strips away the secrecy that cloaks companies and trusts incorporated in tax havens and exposes the people behind them. This includes, when available, the names of the real owners of those opaque structures. In all, the interactive application reveals more than 740,000 names of people and companies behind secret offshore structures. They come from leaked records and not a standardized corporate registry, so there may be duplicates, including in the same leak. In some cases, companies are listed as shareholders for another company or a trust, an arrangement that often helps obscure the flesh-and-blood people behind offshore entities.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the data through five massive leaks:
- Pandora Papers (2021): Data added in December 2021 comes from two offshore service providers’ documents that were part of the Pandora Papers dataset: Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) and Fidelity Corporate Services. Data from other service providers will be added in 2022.
- Paradise Papers (2017 & 2018): the Paradise Papers data in the Offshore Leaks database comes from the offshore law firm Appleby and a trove of data from seven corporate registries. Data from Appleby was added in November 2017, and the corporate registries data was added in December 2017 (Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados and Nevis) and February 2018 (Cook Islands, Malta and Samoa).
- Bahamas Leaks (2016): In September 2016, ICIJ added data from the Bahamas Leaks investigation, which was based on a trove of data from the Bahamas corporate registry.
- Panama Papers (2016): The Panama Papers data, added to the Offshore Leaks Database in May 2016, comes from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, whose inner workings were exposed as part of a collaborative investigation with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 media partners.
- Offshore Leaks (2013): This was the first information added to this database when it was published in June 2013, produced in conjunction with Costa Rican newspaper La Nación. This data covers a portion of offshore entities that were incorporated through Portcullis Trustnet (now Portcullis) and Commonwealth Trust Limited, two offshore service providers investigated as part of ICIJ’s 2013 Offshore Leaks exposé.
The database does not divulge raw documents or personal information en masse. It contains a great deal of information about company owners, proxies and intermediaries in secrecy jurisdictions, but it doesn’t disclose bank accounts, email exchanges and financial transactions contained in the documents.
ICIJ is publishing the information in the public interest. While many of the activities carried out through offshore entities are perfectly legal, extensive reporting by ICIJ and its media partners for more than eight years has shown that the anonymity granted by the offshore economy facilitates money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and other crimes. Even when it’s legal, transparency advocates argue that the use of an alternative, parallel economy undermines democracy because it benefits a few at the expense of the majority.
Read more about why ICIJ is making this information public here.