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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is about to unleash a huge data dump about how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people hide their cash.
The group has already released a host of information regarding how major figures in politics and business store their wealth in tax havens.
On Wednesday the ICIJ said in an email that on May 9 it would “publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from thePanama Papers investigation.
“The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.”
The findings of the so-called Panama Papers investigation were unveiled at the beginning of April. Over 11 million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca had been leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. The paper shared the information with the ICIJ, which is made up of 107 media organisations in 78 countries.
The global news outlets examined 28,000 pages of documents, also revealing the full scale of the tax breaks won by 340 companies.
The details of the investigation have already claimed the scalp of Spain’s acting industry minister Jose Manuel Soria and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson — each of whom stepped down because of activities exposed by the Panama Papers documents.
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Qatar National Bank (QNB) said on Tuesday that it was investigating an alleged hack that potentially exposed the names and passwords of a large number of customers.
Media reports claimed that a 1.4-gigabyte trove of documents had been leaked online anonymously and divulged information on more than 1,200 people and organisations.
Among the information reportedly leaked is the bank details of several journalists working for satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera.
According to the Qatar-based outlet Doha News, the data leak includes files about the country’s secret service, security apparatus and even members of the ruling al-Thani family.
The leakers of the documents remain unknown at this time.
The file is separated by several different folders, some of which were named ‘Al Jazeera’, ‘Al Thani’, ‘Defence and etc’, ‘SPY, Intelligence’, and ‘Mukhabarat’, or Qatar’s intelligence agency, according to the Doha News report.
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A former National Security Agency official turned whistleblower has spent almost a decade and a half in civilian life. And he says he’s still “upset” by what he’s seen leak in the past two years.
In a lunch meeting hosted by Contrast Security founder Jeff Williams on Wednesday, William Binney, a former NSA official who spent more than three decades at the agency, said the US government’s mass surveillance programs have become so engorged with data that they are no longer effective, losing vital intelligence in the fray.
One former Al Jazeera employee, Gordon Hickey, told Doha News that a friend messaged him and said his Qatari bank account and passwords were publicly available under the “SPY” folder.
“He was kind of joking, but he did ask whether I was a spy,” Hickey said. “This could have serious implications for me travelling. It’s not a nice thing.”
Another Al Jazeera journalist, Bernard Smith, said the information on his personal account that was found online was accurate.
“The details they had for me were mostly correct – I had changed my credit cards just a few months ago after losing them, but other information such as my passwords and contact details were all accurate.
“I was very shocked to see my details online.”
In a statement posted online, QNB refused to say whether the leak had occurred, but said it was looking into the claims.
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