Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

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The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) founded in 2006 is a consortium of investigative centers, media and journalists operating in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Central America. OCCRP is the only full-time investigative reporting organization that specializes in organized crime and corruption. It publishes its stories through local media and in English through its website. OCCRP is an early practitioner of collaborative cross-border investigative journalism by non-profit journalism organizations, an approach that is gaining recognition in the United States and now Europe. OCCRP works extensively with other organizations like the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), Connectas, ANCIR and ICIJ.

The project has been involved in a number of high profile investigations including looking at organized crime ownership in football clubs, casinos and the security industry.[1][2][3] In 2013, it broke new ground on the Magnitsky case, the largest tax fraud in Russian history, and managed to demonstrate that funds stolen from the Russian treasury ended up in a company now owned by the son of Moscow's former transportation minister. Some of the money was used to buy high end real estate in Wall Street.[4] US prosecutors have since sought to seize $18 million in properties from the company.[5]

Awards[edit]

OCCRP has been a finalist for three years running for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting. It was a 2010 finalist for its project on the illegal document trade.[6] It won the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for its project [7] Offshore Crime, Inc., a series of stories documenting offshore tax havens, the criminals who use them and the millions of dollars in lost tax money. It was again a finalist in 2013 for its story about an international money laundering ring called the Proxy Platform.[8] It won the Global Shining Light Award in 2008 for investigative reporting under duress for its series on energy traders.[9] OCCRP was double finalist for the same award in 2013 for its stories on the first family of Montenegro's bank (First Family, First Bank). It won the award for its stories on the first family of Azerbaijan's ownership of major companies in that country. It partnered with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for a project on tobacco smuggling[10] that won the Overseas Press Club Award and Investigative Reporters and Editors's Tom Renner Award for crime reporting.[11][12] It was a finalist for the 2013 Online Journalism Award for small website investigative reporting and won the 2013 SEEMO award with Center for Investigative Reporting (Bosnia and Herzegovina) for its story on boiler room scams.

Members[edit]

Member centers include the Center for Investigative Reporting (Bosnia and Herzegovina)(CIN) in Sarajevo, The Rise Project in Bucharest, the Centar za istrazivacko novinarstvo - Serbia in Belgrade, Investigative Journalists of Armenia (HETQ) in Yerevan, the Bulgarian Investigative Journalism Center in Sofia, Atlatszo.hu in Budapest, MANS in Montenegro, re:Baltica in Riga, SCOOP-Macedonia in Skopje, Bivol.bg in Bulgaria, Slidstvo in Ukraine, The Czech Center for Investigative Reporting and others. It is also is partnered with Novaya Gazeta in Moscow and the Kyiv Post in Kyiv. It has worked with the Guardian, Le Soir, the BBC, Time Magazine, Al Jazeera and other major media.

OCCRP and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Khadija Ismayilova based in Baku, Azerbaijan became a cause celebre when she was blackmailed by an unknown party with video captured in her bedroom using a camera installed in the wall. The camera was planted two days after OCCRP/RFERL published a story by Ismayilova about the Presidential family in Azerbaijan and how it secretly owned an Azerfon, a mobile phone company with a monopoly 3G license. A note from Russia threatened to show the videos if Ismayilova did not stop her work. She refused and the videos where shown on at least two websites. Ismayilova complained prosecutors were doing very little to identify the culprits who are largely believed to be the government of Azerbaijan. After this incident, Ismayilova went on to publish articles showing that the first family also owned shares in six major goldfields and they owned one of the construction companies that built the new showcase Crystal Hall auditorium in Baku, the site of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

Its parent organization is the Journalism Development Network, a Maryland-based non-profit organization which operates the organization on behalf of the member centers. Romanian journalist Paul Cristian Radu is the executive director and American Drew Sullivan is the project's editor.

External links[edit]

References[edit]