“I will not stand by and admire the problem,” Jordan told a hastily reconvened tax inquiry last month. In this age of regulators, Jordan is not just on to it. He’s disappearing around the corner.
Chris Jordan’s resolve crackles down the telephone from a car somewhere near Newcastle. Close to 80 of the 800 Australian names in the Panama Papers appear in the Australian Crime Commission’s database for serious and organised crime, he reveals for the first time.
Trawling through leaked data dumps is the new face of investigative journalism and Obermayer is something of a specialist. "Hello," he tapped back. "We're very interested, of course."
As the tranches of documents grew in number and size, Obermayer realised he needed a new computer. Soon, they realised there was no way they could study all the data by themselves. More to the point, local experts would be better placed to search most of it, since the point of shell companies is that they hide their real owners. To get to a fat cat you need to know who's in his entourage. So the Obermayer/iers flew to Washington and, with the help of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, outsourced much of the grunt work to nearly 400 other journalists. All signed non-disclosure agreements in which they promised not to scoop each other, but the agreements weren't legally enforceable. In the end, it came down to trust. Amazingly, no one betrayed it.
The German duo who broke the Panama Papers — the biggest data leak in history — reveal how it all began
*Velvet digital revolution manifesto and Panama Papers
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*Kay Bell, IRS can now share tax data to help find missing kids