No room for escape: Data from Panama papers to become searchable on 9 May

In a major announcement, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Tuesday shared plans to release online an enormous database of the documents included in the Panama Papers on 9 May, thereby revealing individuals named in the data who have so far escaped public scrutiny.

Issuing an update, the ICTJ said that it will publish information on more than 200,000 offshore entities on 9 May, and claimed that it would probably be the largest release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them.

Law firm Mossack Fonseca. Reuters

Law firm Mossack Fonseca. Reuters

The data, said the update, includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada and links to people in more than 200 countries and territories.

The leak has all along been handled very differently from others of a similar kind and the ICIJ, reported Forbes, is concerned that publishing the information in full could reveal its source.

On the release, the data will become accessible online and the users will be able to search through it and visualize the networks around thousands of offshore entities.

As per the update, the database will also include information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.

However, the ICIJ clarified that the database will not be a data dump of the original documents but rather a careful release of basic corporate information.

"ICIJ won’t release personal data en masse; the database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest," it said.

The ICIJ has expressed its will to release as much information as possible.

On speaking to The RegisterMar Cabra, the head of the ICIJ's data and research unit said, “We believe, and the World Bank believes, and many experts believe, that corporate registry should be public...Therefore, there's no problem to make that information public."

The term 'Panama Papers' refers to more than 11 million legal and financial records of the world's power elite taken from a discreet Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

When the leak was out, the firm had insisted it did nothing illegal and said its servers were hacked from abroad, making it a victim of cybertheft.

Acccording to International Business Times, the database will be published at starting at 2 pm EDT on 9 May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 April had ordered a multi-agency team to investigate the expose which named 500 Indians for alleged offshore holdings and vowed to take action against all unlawful accounts held abroad.

Among the global leaders named, there were 12 current and former world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family members.

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Updated Date: Apr 28, 2016 15:26:37 IST

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