ICIJ work on offshore secrecy awarded Polk prize

The team behind ICIJ’s long-running tax havens and offshore secrecy investigation has been recognized with a top journalism award.

ChinaLeaks and LuxLeaks.The team behind ICIJ’s long-running investigation into tax havens, financial secrecy, and the offshore world has been recognized with one of the United States’ top journalism awards.

The team of 120 reporters from 58 countries who worked on ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks, China Leaks and Luxembourg Leaks projects was announced winners of the George Polk Award for Business Reporting on Sunday.

The projects continued ICIJ’s investigations into the secretive world of offshore finance. China Leaks, published in the first half of 2014, exposed how the country’s wealthy elite used offshore companies in tax havens to help shroud their money, while Luxembourg Leaks, published in November and December, focussed on how some of the world’s biggest multinational companies obtained secret tax agreements with the tiny European Duchy of Luxembourg that allowed them to drastically cut their tax bills. The award also recognized investigative stories on how the Seychelles is poised to grow as an island tax haven amid clampdowns on other jurisdictions, and on how wealthy foreigners are buying up luxury properties in New York as a way to funnel wealth into the U.S.

ICIJ’s work unveiling the tax secrets of big corporations and wealthy individuals has had wide-ranging impact, leading to high-level discussions at G20 summits and the OECD, and has been linked with legal reform in a number of countries around the world.

The Polk award is the fifth major award for the three-year investigation that also includes the Offshore Leaks project that was published in 2013.

Other winners of the Polk awards this year include the New York Times for investigations into ransoms paid by European nations to the Islamic State, and reporting on the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and Charleston’s The Post and Courier for a series on domestic violence.

ICIJ wishes to congratulate all the Polk winners, as well as the whole Offshore Leaks, China Leaks and Luxembourg Leaks team.

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