An ICIJ Investigation West Africa Leaks

Probed, Sacked And Ignored: How Countries Reacted To West Africa Leaks

The region’s biggest collaboration spurred some nations to act, while others remained silent.


Explore The Stories

See how offshore companies and accounts have been used to strip cash out of West Africa.

A new documentary reveals the challenges and triumphs of the West Africa Leaks investigation.

ICIJ’s African partnership coordinator talks about our unprecedented investigation in the region and how it came about.

Key findings

  • Leaked records uncover the secretive companies and bank accounts of some of West Africa’s most powerful politicians and corporate moguls, including a Mali presidential candidate, the mayor of Cote d’Ivoire’s richest city and a member of the Togolese ruling dynasty inner circle
  • Files also reveal details behind a Seychelles company of a longtime friend of Nobel Prize-winning Liberian ex-president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who helped lobby on behalf of a mining company
  • Honorary consuls, including several representing European countries, used offshore companies and accounts to avoid taxes and keep money out of sight from authorities in West Africa
  • A Canadian multinational used a letterbox company as a conduit and avoided paying millions of dollars in tax to Senegal, one of the world’s 25 poorest countries

About this investigation

West Africa Leaks is the largest-ever collaboration of journalists from West Africa.

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Through the power of collaborative reporting, ICIJ and its partners have been able to shed new light on the impact of tax avoidance, financial crime and corruption in West Africa.

The 13 journalists who worked on the West Africa Leaks face everything from threats, law suits and intimidation.

Honorary consuls occupy a little-known niche in the global elite. Many work to rigorous standards, but for others their avowed love for their adopted country is not always reflected in their tax filings.

From Cape Verde’s white-sand beaches to Niger’s vast deserts, West African countries are plundered by companies and individuals, while governments do little to stem the flow.

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Probed, sacked and ignored: how countries reacted to West Africa Leaks

The region’s biggest collaboration spurred some nations to act, while others remained silent.

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