ICIJ Director: How Data Leaks and Tech Tools Led to a ‘Golden Era’ in Financial Crime Reporting
25 Nov 2019

“At the moment, money is still winning,” says Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in response to a question on whether money or truth is more powerful.

But that’s not to say financial crooks are particularly comfortable in the age of data leaks, or that things haven’t been shaken up by investigative reporting in recent years. Under Ryle’s leadership, ICIJ’s team of journalists has worked with reporters from more than 100 news outlets on blockbuster stories related to financial wrongdoing, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers.

The 2016 scandal, which drew on the leak of 11.5-million documents from the Panamanian offshore financial services provider Mossack Fonseca, “certainly changed laws around the world,” Ryle said in a recent interview for KYC360’s AML Talk Show. The Panama Papers reports also resulted in high-level political resignations and the recovery of USD $1.2 billion by tax authorities, according to ICIJ estimates.

The consortium’s successes have been due in part to its tech-driven collaboration with major news outlets and its focus on data leaks often tied to financial secrecy in offshore jurisdictions, according to Ryle.

“It’s a golden era for journalism, because if you’re able to gather information on a scale like this, then it’s only a matter of time before we’re going to see bigger stories and bigger financial scandals,” said Ryle. “Because I think that we’re only at the beginning of a journey.”

In a wide-ranging interview with host Martin Woods, Ryle also discussed ICIJ’s decision to continue the work of slain Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died in car bombing in October 2017, and how compliance officers and others can utilize the organization’s data tools for their own work.

Listen to the full podcast here

RiskScreen: Eliminating Financial Crime with Smart Technology

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