TODAY, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) lifts the veil of secrecy on offshore accounts with its public launch of an interactive database of 2.5 million leaked files covering the secret trust accounts and companies of politicians, businessmen, con men, and other parties, in tax havens across the world.

The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database allows users to search through more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, and Singapore.

In a statement, ICIJ director Gerard Ryle said: “Secrecy creates an environment where fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and other forms of corruption thrive. The Offshore Leaks Database helps remove this secrecy.”

“Opening up the records serves the public interest by bringing accountability to an industry that has long operated in the shadows,” Ryle said.

ICIJ is a project of The Center for Public Integrity that is based out of Washington, DC.

The launch of the public database coincides with the meeting next week in Northern Ireland of the G8 industrialized countries that will be chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron. “Tax evasion, after all, is a central theme in the meetings,” ICIJ noted.

The data are part of a cache of 2.5 million leaked files ICIJ analyzed with 112 journalists in 58 countries.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) wrote the Philippine reports as the country partner of ICIJ.

Since April 2013, stories based on the data — the largest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization — have been published by more than 40 media organizations worldwide, including The Guardian in the U.K., Le Monde in France, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Offshore Leaks web app was developed by La Nacion newspaper in Costa Rica for ICIJ. It will go live at 10 pm EST Friday June 14 (4:00 CET on Saturday June 15).

Appropriate notice is posted for all users before they can access the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database: “There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. If you find an error in the database please get in touch with us.”


In light of the public launch of ICIJ’s database, PCIJ asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) how it plans to evaluate the data, according to relevant tax and other laws in the Philippines.

BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said she welcomes the public release of the database, saying it can aid the agency’s efforts to gather more leads and information that could result in tax investigations and cases.

“We will look into it and match (the information on Philippine residents in the database) with income tax returns,” she told PCIJ.

“First, what we will do simultaneously is get confirmation and data from the various governments that have control of the banks so they can provide us the information. Secondly, at the same time, we will check with the income tax returns whether the taxes they have paid support those kinds of assets,” Henares said.

While opening or owning an offshore account per se is not a violation of Philippine laws — because such outward investments have been allowed following the deregulation of foreign exchange markets in the 1990 — Filipinos earning money abroad, except overseas Filipino workers, are generally required to report such income when they file their tax returns in the Philippines, she added.

Taxes paid to governments of countries where such income is earned are generally credited against taxes payable in the Philippines, according to Henares.

Read the PCIJ report:
“BIR ready to investigate Pinoys with offshore accounts”

Check out the ICIJ’s press dispatches:
* ICIJ Press Release
* How La Nacion Costa Rica developed ICIJ’s App
* ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database: The Names Behind Secret Companies, Trusts
* Q & A: The ICIJ Database

2 Responses to Offshore leaks data now online;
BIR ready to probe Pinoys on list


Chippy Orendain

June 15th, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Great job!!! I hope BIR does a good job on this one. Filipinos need to know who they should be supporting to lead this country forward from doom to boom. More power to PCIJ!!!


darlan palencia barcelon

June 20th, 2013 at 4:18 pm

let no be spared by this promised investigation on “offshore accounts”. if BIR can pursue this promise, accountability and transparency will be a way of life for those who are in power inside the Philippine bureaucracy..

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