The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) stands as a unique, independent global network, encompassing a team of 280 investigative journalists and partnering with more than 140 media outlets across over 100 nations. Its central operations are based out of Washington, D.C., but it boasts a diverse international presence with staff stationed in several countries including Australia, France, Spain, Hungary, Serbia, Belgium, and Ireland.
Initiated in 1997 by the American journalist Charles Lewis as a project under the Center for Public Integrity, the ICIJ’s mission has been to uncover and report on worldwide instances of corruption and criminal activities. Gaining independence in 2017, the organization now operates as a non-profit, recognized under the 501(c)(3) status. Among its most notable achievements is the Panama Papers investigation, a joint endeavor with Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung and a coalition of over 100 media partners. This extensive project involved the meticulous examination of 11.5 million documents leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca, headquartered in Panama. Revealed in April 2016, these documents disclosed extensive details about offshore accounts, involving over 14,000 clients and 214,000 entities, linked to various global leaders and influential personalities.
The investigative work of the ICIJ has had a profound global impact, notably influencing the enactment of significant legislation such as the Corporate Transparency Act in the U.S. This was further propelled by the Pandora Papers investigation, which revealed the inadequacies in the American financial disclosure systems. As a result of the Panama Papers project, governments worldwide have reclaimed over US$1.36 billion in taxes, with ongoing efforts to recover more lost revenues.