The global impact of our latest investigation has been astonishing:
- In South Korea, police and prosecutors raided the home of a former President, hauling away paintings and other big-ticket items;
- In Austria, one of Europe’s most famed bankers abruptly resigned;
- And, in Great Britain and France, national leaders have appeared on TV and promised to eradicate tax havens.
These far-flung events and many others can be traced directly to ICIJ’s groundbreaking probe into the secrets of offshore tax havens. The so-called “Offshore Leaks” project has sparked a sea change in international tax policies.
So far, official investigations and inquiries have been launched in Israel, South Korea, the Philippines, Greece, Canada, India, Mongolia, Austria and Australia.
In Europe, the EU’s top tax official credits ICIJ with transforming tax politics, calling it “the most significant trigger” behind the region’s newfound resolve to crack down on offshore hideaways and global tax evasion.
In Belgium, the country’s secretary of state says “Offshore Leaks woke up many Belgians” and other Europeans as well. “We're in a completely different context today,” he says. “It’s a new world.”
In effect, ICIJ has helped change the world of offshore tax havens through transparency. ICIJ is a 15-year-old consortium of 160 investigative journalists in 60 countries. It operates as part of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.
More than a year and a half in the making, the Offshore Leaks project is, I believe, the largest cross-border investigative reporting collaboration in history.
The investigation has been cited more than 20,000 times by other media organizations around the world. And there is still more to come.
Putting together a project with the depth and breadth of Offshore Leaks – and reporting across languages, time zones and cultures – is a huge logistical challenge. Team members are stretched across the globe, some with spotty internet access and serious security concerns. Many work in countries where they have legitimate fears of retaliation from powerful figures in government or business.
Only an investigative powerhouse such as ICIJ could do this level of work and stand up to the pressures that it has produced. ICIJ is given credit for helping force significant changes in international policies aimed at fighting tax evasion.
Now we need to finish telling this story.
Thanks to a generous matching pledge from a member of our Board of Directors, every dollar that you give today will be doubled up to $5,000.
Your support for ICIJ will allow us to keep going and continue to probe hidden tax havens in many more specific countries. Act today and help us continue to change the world of hidden offshore tax havens.
Bill Buzenberg is the executive director of The Center for Public Integrity.
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