O power360 starts this Sunday (3.Oct.2021) the publication of the series of reports Pandora Papers, the new investigation of the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) on international finance and tax havens. The calculation is based on a collection of 11.9 million files. Data cover the period from 1990 to 2019.
>>> read on here all Pandora Papers texts published by Power360.
Tax haven is how it was agreed to classify countries in which little or no tax is charged. Those included in this report are: British Virgin Islands, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Learn more about the score in the video below (2min32sec):
615 journalists from 149 vehicles in 117 countries participated in the investigation. The material has been analyzed for about 1 year for the preparation of the series. In Brazil, journalists from the power360, from the magazine Piauí, gives Public Agency and the website metropolises.
This is the largest investigation by the ICIJ in terms of the volume of documents analyzed and professionals mobilized. It is, therefore, one of the greatest reports in the history of journalism. Here is a comparison with 2 other projects in the consortium:
- Panama Papers: 376 journalists, 109 vehicles in 76 countries.
- Paradise Papers: 382 journalists, 96 vehicles in 67 countries.
See the infographic below for data on the operations mentioned above and others 5:
In Brazil, the database was compared with the names of 513 federal deputies and 81 senators, in addition to the alternates of the current Legislature and all governors and vice-governors. All capital mayors and deputy mayors were also surveyed.
The name of the current president of the Republic and all of his living predecessors, in addition to family members and ministers, was checked. The ministers of the STF and of all higher courts were also checked. All candidates for governor and for the Presidency of the Republic in 2018 were confronted with the files.
In addition, all the names of the boards, supervisory boards and boards of directors of all banks in Brazil were checked. And all Brazilians included in the list of billionaires from forbes, as well as the 20 largest donors for election campaigns in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Public servants were also scrutinized. The scan passed through all members of boards of directors, fiscal councils, and employees in federal government directorships.
The survey also covered the names of 156 people at the top of the Federal Police, among various groups, and members of the PGR (Attorney General’s Office).
Many other crosses were performed. Results that showed journalistic relevance and public interest were considered for publication (read more at the end of this post about the criteria for choosing who was cited).
have a company offshore it is legal when the enterprise is declared to the Internal Revenue Service and the Central Bank. But this type of activity does not have a public record, as when a Brazilian starts a company – whose data is obligatorily public in notary offices and Boards of Trade.
In the case of a firm in a tax haven, even if declared to the Brazilian authorities, everything is kept secret from the majority of the public. In this sense, it is of public interest when government agents or large businessmen and bankers have access to this benefit – something not available to the majority of the population.
ICIJ AND OTHER COUNTRIES
In other countries, ICIJ’s partners in the Pandora Papers series also carried out checks similar to the process adopted by the team of journalists of the power360 in Brazil. Vehicles such as the newspaper participate in the investigation The Washington Post, the British network BBC, the german newspaper Die Zeit and Japanese public TV NHK.
This type of initiative has become increasingly common under the leadership of ICIJ, a non-profit NGO created in 1997. Headquartered in Washington DC, the capital of the United States. The main idea is that in the 21st century, big stories will be increasingly multinational and collaborative.
The ICIJ only has member journalists by invitation. In Brazil, the editorial director of power360, Fernando Rodrigues, has been part of the ICIJ since 1999, when the consortium was still a section of another NGO, the Center for Public Integrity, conceived by the renowned American journalist Charles Lewis.
The 11.9 million documents in the Pandora Papers series would never be extensively analyzed if they had been limited to just 1 journalistic vehicle in 1 given country. For this reason, the ICIJ opened the documents to a global journalistic task force.
The consortium works as a coordinator and facilitator of exchanges between partners. At the power360, journalists Fernando Rodrigues, Mario Cesar Carvalho, Guilherme Waltenberg, Tiago Mali, Nicolas Iory, Marcelo Damato and Brunno Kono participated in the investigation.
As recorded in several texts in the Pandora Papers series, having a company offshore or bank account abroad is not a crime for Brazilians who declare these activities to the Federal Revenue and the Central Bank, as the case may be.
If it’s not a crime, why divulge information about people whose business abroad complies with Brazilian rules? The answer to that question is simple: o power360 and the ICIJ are guided by the principle of journalistic relevance and public interest.
As is well known, there is a difference in how Brazilians should register their companies.
For the vast majority of citizens with registered businesses within Brazil, the data is public. All you have to do is go to a notary office or a Board of Trade to find out who the owners of a particular company are. In the case of those who have a offshore, even if declared, the information is not public.
There are, therefore, 2 types of Brazilian entrepreneurs: 1) those who have their companies in the country and who are exposed to the scrutiny of any other citizen; 2) those who are able to open the business outside the country and whose data will be protected by confidentiality.
Those are the rules. In this space it will not be analyzed whether they are iniquitous or not. That’s the law. It must be fulfilled. It is up to Congress, if it wishes, to improve the rules. Journalism is left with the mission of reporting the facts.
It is, therefore, a function of professional journalism to describe to society what is happening in the country. There are citizens who occupy a prominent position and who must always be subjected to greater scrutiny. In this category, among others, celebrities (who live off their public exposure and often receive state subsidy); journalistic media companies and journalists (since one of their functions is precisely to investigate what is right or wrong in the country’s daily life); big businessmen; who makes donations to political campaigns; public workers; politicians in general. And there are even more explicit cases: contractors cited in major scandals, money changers, bookmakers and drug dealers.
All investigations must be judicious and never expose anyone improperly. A great entrepreneur who chooses to open a offshore, properly declared, has every right to do so. But the obligation of professional journalism is also to investigate big business and say how a given company takes care of its resources – always bearing in mind, when applicable, that everything is in accordance with current laws.
Many of the Brazilians mentioned in the Pandora Papers series responded proactively to the power360. They presented proof of the legality of their business abroad. They are citizens who contribute to the common good by understanding the role of professional journalism in scrutinizing who is more politically exposed in society.
The Pandora Papers series is the 8th that the power360 did in partnership with ICIJ (read about the previous ones here). It is a contribution of professional journalism to offer more transparency to society. The principle expressed in the sentence coined by the US Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) about a century ago about access to data of public interest was followed in this report and in others already carried out: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”. O power360 believes that in this way it fulfills its main mission as a journalism company: “Improving democracy by ascertaining the truth of the facts to inform and inspire”.
This article is part of the Pandora Papers series, from ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists). 615 journalists from 149 vehicles in 117 countries participated in the investigation.
In Brazil, journalists from the power360 (Fernando Rodrigues, Mario Cesar Carvalho, Guilherme Waltenberg, Tiago Mali, Nicolas Iory, Marcelo Damato and Brunno Kono); of the magazine Piauí (José Roberto Toledo, Ana Clara Costa, Fernanda da Escóssia and Allan de Abreu); gives Public Agency (Anna Beatriz Anjos, Alice Maciel, Yolanda Pires, Raphaela Ribeiro, Ethel Rudnitzki and Natalia Viana); and the website metropolises (Guilherme Amado and Lucas Marchesini).