Razkrinkavanje.si, a fact-checking project founded by OCCRP member center Oštro, has published over 200 fact-checks since 2019 with the help of a team of young journalists.

In Slovenia, a country with barely more than 2 million people, news can spread fast. And, as in many other parts of the world, widely shared information is not always accurate.

In April 2020, Slovenia’s state-run emergency services agency published an alert on its website claiming that a fire near the town of Grosuplje had been started by migrants, a group that has repeatedly faced harsh rhetoric from the country’s current government.

The claim…

Our head of fact-checking explains what it takes to get an investigation over the finish line and published at OCCRP

Getting an investigation published at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is challenging. The stories are complex, the reporting can take months, and the subjects are sometimes dangerous. But what many journalists don’t expect — until they’ve lived through it — is how hard it is to pass through OCCRP’s legendarily rigorous fact-checking process.

“Even today, after two and a half years in the organization, it is still the hardest, most complex and exhausting stage of the editing…

Connecting politically exposed persons with government spending

From corruption on the local level to multi-billion-dollar money laundering schemes, financial crime in Lithuania has been at the center of several OCCRP investigations.

Much of our reporting in the Baltic state — including this investigation into COVID-19 procurement contracts — has come from publicly available data, since its government is relatively transparent, especially compared to notoriously opaque neighbors like Belarus or Russia.

As of October, much of this public data has been unified for the first time in Karštos Pedos, which translates to “Hot Feet” in English, a platform where anyone can…

The story behind Kyrgyzstan’s protests.

A series of investigations into corruption, money laundering, and smuggling in Kyrgyzstan was a major catalyst for mass protests that led to the fall of the country’s government earlier this week. Eldiyar Arykbaev, an editor and reporter at Kloop, an OCCRP partner on the investigations, explains the story behind the protests and the role of the media in a revolutionary period.

A peaceful protest of thousands of people in the center of Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, began early in the morning of October 5 and soon escalated into mass clashes with police and the seizure…

Data journalism meets digital forensics

The brutal assassination of Martina Kušnírová and Ján Kuciak in 2018 shook Slovak politics. Kuciak, a 27-year-old investigative reporter, had uncovered multiple cases of corruption and fraud. A Slovak court has since found two men guilty of committing the crime, even as businessman Marian Kočner, accused of masterminding the attack, was found not guilty.

In late 2019, reporters at the Ján Kuciak Investigative Center in Bratislava and the Czech investigative reporting platform Investigace.cz, both OCCRP member centers, were given access to the complete police case file on the two murders. Slovak police and Europol had…

George Greenwood, a data journalist with the UK-based newspaper The Times, is one of many journalists outside the OCCRP network who uses Aleph in his investigations.

Major investigations are almost always based on documents, lots of documents, that reach journalists as a hodgepodge of Xerox-stained PDFs, images, and other formats that aren’t even digital. To make sense of messy data sets, journalists can upload them onto Aleph, OCCRP’s investigative data platform, which supports optical character recognition (OCR).

George Greenwood, a data journalist with the The Times, used Aleph when he joined our #29Leaks investigative series, which was based on leaked…

By Friedrich Lindenberg

In 2012, Google announced that soon, users of its search engine would be able to search for “things, not strings” (of text).

In other words, Google would return what is known as structured information about people, places, events, movies, and other concepts, not just the traditional list of web links containing words matching the search terms. This information is drawn from what is known as a knowledge graph.

Nowadays, much of the response for a Google search isn’t web links, but structured information from Google’s knowledge graph.

It’s not just Google. Across the data science community, knowledge graphs have become a growing phenomenon in recent years, driving many applications, including virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa…

By Emmanuel Freudenthal

Since January 2019, OCCRP has been tracking flights all over the world. With the project ending this month, coordinator Emmanuel Freudenthal tells us how it was set up and what he learned.

Emmanuel Freudenthal installs an ADS-B antenna to track planes. (Credit: Khadija Sharife)

I held onto the roof of a small house in a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia, balanced on top of a rickety ladder while I bolted down an antenna. Armed with just a screwdriver, I was on the front line of a data-gathering project to track planes carrying dictators, oligarchs, and others.

That antenna collects data from planes flying within about 400 kilometers, including the aircraft’s…

Important Stories, or iStories for short, uses new tech tools and data-driven techniques to investigate corruption and abuse of power in Russia, not just at the Kremlin but at the local level.

Roman Anin, editor-in-chief of Important Stories (istories.media)

OCCRP has built a network of journalists around the world — including in Russia, where independent investigative reporting is increasingly scarce.

There are only a few outlets in the country that report on issues that the Russian government might deem sensitive. Our longtime Russian member center, Novaya Gazeta, is one of them. Our newest member, iStories, intends to be another.

iStories launched at the end of April, during…

‘Synonames’ helps us investigate people across languages and alphabets

By Aparna Surendra

A single name can have many equivalents when transliterated across writing systems or represented across cultures. A Russian named Александр might open a U.K. bank account as Aleksandr, while a German Friedrich might introduce himself to Americans as “Fred.”

An Aleph search for ‘alexander’ produces a few synonames.

These variations arise naturally with cross-cultural exchange, without any malicious intent, and the human brain can usually toggle between them effortlessly. But they pose a bigger problem in data-driven research.

Due to the cross-border nature of financial crimes, a person of interest will often travel across countries and cultural contexts, while leaks and source documents routinely span multiple…

The OCCRP Team

Members of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

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