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OCCRP: Using investigative journalism and big data in the fight against corruption

In 2018, the UN estimated the annual cost of international corruption amounted to $3.6 trillion. Facilitated by an intricate network of tech savvy institutions and powerful individuals, corruption drives rising inequality and democratic decline around the world. Journalists face immense challenges in reporting about corruption, from lawsuits to online harassment to credible death threats. Despite these challenges, organisations like the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) relentlessly persist in revealing how money and power work so people can demand accountability from their leaders and powerful institutions.

OCCRP is a decentralized global network of journalists that track and trace money across borders. By publishing stories from this global network of investigative journalists, OCCRP exposes crime and corruption so the public can hold power to account. Working with independent media member centers and publishing partners, OCCRP’s investigations inform audiences in local languages as well as people around the world.  Its primary basis for measuring impact is increased accountability, measured in terms of illicitly acquired funds returned to the public sphere. OCCRP’s work has contributed to over $7.3 billion in fines levied and/or seized, and over 500 arrests, indictments, and sentences of complicit individuals and groups.    

Luminate first committed $800,000 in grant funding to OCCRP in 2018. Since then, the organisation has been internationally recognized for its work, receiving the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2020. With our prior funding, OCCRP leveraged technology to advance its mission. Through custom-built tools such as Aleph, OCCRP created a network of dedicated, skilled, and knowledgeable journalists, while also partnering with advocacy groups to press for justice and change. Aleph is a privacy-first data platform with a vast archive of public records, open databases, and leaked data, which helps users track assets and corporate ownership, government expenditure, and individuals and groups of journalistic interest.

OCCRP's Aleph data platform brings together a vast archive of current and historic databases, documents, leaks, and investigations.

We are pleased to commit $400,000 to OCCRP over the next two years. With Luminate’s renewed support, OCCRP intends to build editorial, finance, and operational capacity to better position the organisation for expansion into new geographies, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. OCCRP’s team also intends to invest in new formats of audience engagement and efforts to cultivate new revenue streams to build the financial sustainability of the organisation.

Luminate believes deeply in the power of investigative journalism that demands accountability from elite and vested interests. We are excited to support OCCRP through its next stage of growth.