2017 In Review: Top Partners’ Investigations

Nike’s tax hankey-pankey, Paradise Papers and an inspiring story of a corruption fighter in the Czech Republic

In 2017, Russiangate not only conducted its own investigations, but also translated the materials of foreign colleagues into Russian. The translations of the best foreign investigations are listed in today's article.

Lumumba’s case


PPLAAF, a platform created to help human rights defenders and journalists, told a corruption story that unfolded in Congo. The investigation of how the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his entourage controls the entire economy of the country through a network of companies has been called the Lumumba Papers.

Jean-Jacques Lumumba works at Bank République Démocratique du Congo and begins to notice the sketchy deals. The local company EGAL and the National Electoral Commission are the recipients of the money. Lumumba learns too much – he is being threatened, and decides to flee to Europe. From there, he gives the journalists internal documents of the bank.

Thanks to Lumumba, the journalists of the Belgian newspaper Le Soir expose the corruption schemes, illegal financing, as well as internal embezzlement in the Congo. Then Bloomberg also tells how the family of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not allow the business to develop and “chokes” the country's economy. The contents of Lumumba Papers can be found here.

The Pulitzer for the investigation: a deadly painkiller


A story from Eric Ira from the newspaper The Charleston Gazette-Mail, who in 2017, won the Pulitzer Prize for the best investigation. He found that the largest US pharmaceutical companies sell addictive medications to pharmacies in small outlying cities. Pharmaceutical management that must control the flow of hazardous substances closes its eyes to the growing number of deaths from overdosing.

The first part of the investigation tells how drug suppliers earn billions while people get addicted, whereas in the second part of the translation of the article about the deadly anesthetic, the author tell us about idleness of US officials.

Nike’s tax hankey-pankey


The investigation about how the largest manufacturer of sportswear evaded taxes with the help of off-shores was conducted by an International Consortium of investigative journalists. It tells how Nike moved billions in profits between its subsidiaries to avoid high European taxes.

Dutch tax loopholes could also be used by Tesla and Uber. Exactly how the scheme for the withdrawal of global profits in the “tax paradise” of Bermuda operates is available here. Just do it!

Paradise papers: secrets of Glencore


Another story about the withdrawal of a billion profit through offshore companies. The international consortium of investigative journalists wrote about the company Glencore – a supplier of Russian oil. The leak called the Paradise Papers showed that Glencore was one of the largest clients of the offshore law firm Appleby.

The journalists learned how the global giant used the “financial asylum” to keep profitable its deals in secret. The company redirected millions of dollars across Bermuda, fought the lawsuits and tax bills. The scheme of all offshore units of Glencore “would occupy the whole wall”. The whole investigation can be read here.

Offshore gurus: avoiding taxes on airplanes and yachts? Easy-peasy!


And yet another investigation related to offshore zones – the translation of the article of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists about the scheme that rich people from all over the world use to get away from taxes. With its help, Formula One star Lewis Hamilton saved on buying a luxury Bombardier, and Donald Trump – on buying a private Boeing 727. What are the mechanisms of the Isle of Man, which became an offshore resort for both the Saudi prince and Russian oligarchs the Rothenberg brothers can be accessed here.

Former Prosecutor of Venezuela: “I have evidence of Maduro’s corrupt actions”


The translation of the BBC article about corruption scandals involving the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela's Chief Prosecutor Louise Ortega, who was suspended from the relevant cases, talks about evidence of corruption in the country's top leadership. According to her, several high-ranking officials of Venezuela, including the president, are involved in the Odebrecht case – a huge investigation in Brazil about the “kickbacks” for state contracts.

The story from a country where people have nothing to eat, while the nephews of the president's wife try to smuggle drugs on the first-person plane, can be read here.

Feel like stealing? Beware: Libor Michalek sees everything


OCCRP – the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project – published a material on the life of a fighter against corruption in the Czech Republic. Libor Michalek denounced cases of major corruption twice in his life, and both seemed nightmares to him.

The first time he discovered a scheme of theft called “tunneling.” This is a method of fraud, in which assets and profits are illegally siphoned off from companies into the pockets of those who control them. The second was the case of the State Environmental Fund, one of the biggest corruption scandals in the modern history of the Czech Republic. Michalek exposed the adviser to the Minister of the Environment and his colleagues, who profited from state subsidies and state procurement. After such a high-profile story, his family was taken under police protection because of incoming threats. You can immerse yourself in the story here.    

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