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The Next Batch of “Dirty Laundry” within the “Panama Papers” Will Be Searchable: eDiscovery Trends

“Kick ’em when they’re up, Kick ’em when they’re down, Kick ’em when they’re up, Kick ’em all around” – this seems to be my week for covering Don Henley songs.  Based on reports, the next batch of “Dirty Laundry” from the “Panama Papers” will not only provide more details about hundreds of thousands of secret offshore entities, it will also be searchable.

According to CNET (Panama Papers Part 2: The world’s dirty laundry becomes searchable, written by Claire Reilly), the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) will release on Monday, May 9 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the “Panama Papers” investigation.

As the ICIJ stated in its announcement, “The database will likely be the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them… When the data is released, users will be able to search through the data and visualize the networks around thousands of offshore entities, including, when available, Mossack Fonseca’s internal records of the company’s true owners. The interactive database will also include information about more than 100,000 additional companies that were part of the 2013 ICIJ Offshore Leaks investigation.”

The ICIJ also stated that the information “will not be a ‘data dump’ of the original documents – it will be a careful release of basic corporate information.”

Since its release due to a data breach of 11.5 million documents (2.6 total TB of data) at Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the “Panama Papers” investigation has led to high profile resignations, including the prime minister of Iceland.  It also has triggered official inquiries in multiple countries; and put pressure on world leaders and other politicians to explain their connections to offshore companies. It sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public.

Last month, founding partner Ramon Fonseca claimed that, despite the huge amount of data exposed, the data breach was not an inside job.  “We rule out an inside job. This is not a leak. This is a hack,” he told Reuters at the company’s headquarters in Panama City’s business district.

So, what do you think?  What lessons, if any, can be learned from the Panama Papers fiasco?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Thanks to Sharon Nelson’s Ride the Lightning blog for the tip on the story!

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