Suddeutsche Zeitung quickly realised 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, the Lux Leaks and more recently the Swiss Leaks, for which they deployed Linkurious Enterprise. ICIJ mobilised “around 370 independent journalists from more than 100 media partners in over 80 countries”.
The initial challenge for ICIJ and the Suddeutsche Zeitung was to make these massive amounts of data exploitable by their network of investigative journalists around the world. This implied turning 11.5 unstructured million 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 edited by our partner Neo Technology. 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 such as Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the current Prime Minister of Iceland, or Vladimir Putin’s close associates among others.