Suddeutsche Zeitung quickly realized it could not handle the exploitation of such massive amounts of data on its own and decided to get ICIJ on board. ICIJ had already demonstrated its ability to coordinate worldwide investigations numerous times in the past with the Offshore Leaks such as the Lux Leaks and more recently the Swiss Leaks, for which they deployed Linkurious Enterprise.
The investigation became a huge journalistic project. ICIJ mobilized around 370 independent journalists from more than 100 media partners in over 80 countries.
The initial challenge for ICIJ and Suddeutsche Zeitung was to make these massive amounts of data exploitable by their global network of investigative journalists. This implied turning 11.5 million unstructured documents into something meaningful for journalist investigators.
Through its Data & Research unit, ICIJ provided the data analysis expertise to make the documents exploitable by reporters. They extracted the metadata of documents using Apache Solr and Tika, then connected all the information together using the leaked databases, creating a graph of nodes and edges. The data was stored in the Neo4j graph database.
The result provides unique insights into the offshore banking world showing the relationships between banks, clients, offshore companies and their lawyers. This graph includes the numerous public personalities worldwide who have used Mossack Fonseca’s services, including Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the current Prime Minister of Iceland, or Vladimir Putin’s close associates among others.