How to Fish for People in Panama

This short video tutorial explains how to find out if citizens of your own country are involved with companies based in the offshore haven of Panama. All it takes is a little creativity and the Daniel O’Huiginn’s scraped database of Panama companies. This is a follow up to a previous video tutorial that indicates how to navigate the more complicated Panama official registry of companies. Happy fishing!

Panama corporate records re-indexed

About two weeks ago I posted a blog entry and a video tutorial on how to get corporate records from the official Panama registry of companies. It turns out there is an even better way to look for data on Panama based companies. Dan O’Huiginn created an awesome tool that adds functionality to Panama company searches and allows investigators¬† to also search by names of companies’ directors. The official database only allows searches by companies’ names. O’Huiginn scraped the database, re-indexed it and posted it online here: http://ohuiginn.net/panama The added functionality allows you to search by names of directors, find out the names of companies they own and then go back to the official registry to get the official records.

New LinkedIn Company Search

LinkedIn announced a new feature with their social network: “now you can search for companies not only by attributes such as location, industry, and size but also by how you are connected.¬† You can filter a set of results to include only those companies where you have a direct connection or broaden your search to include companies in your extended network.”

The new search option could prove to be a very useful tool for investigative journalists. Social networks profiles become increasingly important for the investigator’s work as business as well as social connections are shared on social networks such as: Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Social networks mining coupled to companies’ databases mining greatly contribute to profiling individuals and groups.

The ID will soon host video tutorials on social networks mining.

How to Track Down Companies from Panama

Switzerland, Panama, Cyprus and many other offshore (like in the case of Switzerland, onshore countries sometimes provide the same level of non-transparency as proper, island-based, offshore havens) havens pop up in the news each time a dictator is overthrown or almost each time a criminal network is dismantled. Hidden wealth is almost always channeled through offshore havens that provide dictators and criminals with the the much needed secrecy and the possibility of recovering money even after revolutions such as the one in Egypt. A recent New York Times article points out that Hosni Mubarak’s wealth is also owned through companies in Panama and Cyprus. A chart published on this blog indicates why Panama is a country of choice for criminals and dictators alike to hide. It allows proxy representation so that, in most cases, it is impossible o track down the real beneficiary of a business. It also has a minimum of bilateral treaties when it comes to providing information on its companies. However, there is a possibility to start investigating Panamanian based companies starting from the ID’s Worldwide Company Data section. The following video explains how to start tracking down Panama based commercial entities: