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13 May
NEW: Amid widespread food shortages, Turkmenistan’s president handed a lucrative food import contract to a firm that, we reveal, is controlled by his nephew.

This is the first documented evidence tying the young man’s wealth to his uncle. 💸 🇹🇲 1/…
Turkmenistan's food crisis began in 2016, when Russia abruptly stopped buying its natural gas.

To alleviate the shortages, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ordered the gov’t to contract 7 foreign firms to import food. Several of them raise questions. 2/
The largest contract, worth $25.7m, went to Greatcom Trade LLP.

Though the firm is based in the U.K., its ultimate beneficial owner is Hajymyrat Rejepov, the president’s nephew. 3/
Read 8 tweets
5 May
We’ve launched a page about unexplained wealth.

Criminals and corrupt officials from around the world love to park their ill-gotten gains in the West. It’s one of the main ways the global financial system enables wrongdoing.

We’ll track it here. 1/…
This explainer provides a snapshot of how the UK’s 'unexplained wealth orders' — a major investigative tool against illicit foreign wealth — have functioned since their introduction 3 years ago.

The short answer is: It’s complicated. 2/…
On this page, we’re also highlighting some of our recent stories about unexplained wealth. Here are a few of them 👇 3/
Read 7 tweets
29 Apr
NEW: Argentina’s former first family, the Macris, made a secret deal with a disgraced Austrian bank. The deal helped the bank manipulate other creditors in an infamous postal service bankruptcy case.

Our investigation with @LANACION 🇦🇷 1/…
The Macris acquired Correo Argentino, the state postal service, before leading it into receivership. A previously hidden audit of Meinl bank shows how the Macri patriarch, Franco, later secretly gave Meinl control of Correo’s debts in a deal that raised suspicions in Austria. 2/
While the Macris were negotiating with creditors, the audit shows, the ties between them and Meinl were multiplying.

Once the secret deal was struck, Meinl started to make decisions that seemed to favor the Macris ahead of itself. 3/
Read 6 tweets
28 Apr
NEW: As part of an effort to uncover the truth behind the murder of Mexican journalist #ReginaMartinez — who was killed on this day 9 yrs ago — OCCRP is releasing 1000s of records related to the investigation.

Here’s a look at what we’ve made public 👇 1/…
Reporters obtained these docs via #FOIA requests in 2020 as part of the #CartelProject, an award-winning investigation led by @FbdnStories.

What they found raised serious questions about the official narrative claiming that Martínez's murder was unrelated to her reporting. 2/
Pages 1 to 820:

➡️ Forensic analysis
➡️ Notes relating to the official “crime of passion” narrative that we discredited. 3/ Image
Read 6 tweets
27 Apr
NEW: With Reza Zarrab expected to testify in a US court for helping Iran evade sanctions, we show how the money launderer was just a cog in a larger scheme involving the Turkish gov’t and transactions with major global banks. #WhoBankedForIran 1/…
Who is Reza Zarrab? The money launderer will be a key witness in the US prosecution of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, which is accused of knowingly facilitating Zarrab’s sanction-busting scheme in the 2010s.

More on Zarrab here: 2/…
Zarrab and Halkbank didn’t act on their own.

Testimony from Zarrab and an exclusive interview with his ex-deputy indicate that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was behind the sanction-busting scheme.

More on that here: 3/…
Read 12 tweets
14 Apr
🏆 Our #TroikaLaundromat and #FraudFactory investigations won #IJ4EU Impact Awards!
#FraudFactory uncovered an international scam that used Facebook ads and an army of multilingual salespeople to defraud people around the world out of millions of dollars. Many of the victims have been left in financial ruin.…
#TroikaLaundromat revealed an $8.8 billion network of offshore companies that allowed corrupt politicians and criminals to launder money.…
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
NEW: We've translated a story Roman Anin and our Russian partner, @istories_media, published in March. It shows that a senior newly-appointed FSB official has ties to figures in organized crime.

Roman's apartment was raided by the FSB on Friday night. 1/…
The official at the center of this investigation is Sergei Korolev, who Vladimir Putin appointed to be the FSB’s first deputy director.

Here’s what Roman and @istories_media found 👇2/
➡️ 2004: St. Petersburg police found that Korolev, who then worked in the FSB’s economic division, had close contact with Oleg Makovoz, an organized criminal figure later sentenced to 23 yrs for kidnapping, extortion, and murder. 3/
Read 10 tweets
9 Apr
🚨 BREAKING: The Moscow apartment of Roman Anin, editor-in-chief of OCCRP member center @istories_media, is currently being raided by the FSB. /1
@istories_media Roman’s colleagues are currently unable to reach him.

The last thing they heard from him, before he went silent, is that the FSB search may be related to a 2016 story he published in Novaya Gazeta, his previous employer. /2
@istories_media That story concerned Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and now the head of the state-controlled oil giant Rosneft. It connected Sechin with an ultra-luxurious mega-yacht, the St. Princess Olga.

Here’s OCCRP’s English version of that story. 3/…
Read 8 tweets
7 Apr
NEW: Chechnya’s longtime ruler, Ramzan Kadyrov, has often promoted polygamy in the conservative Islamic republic. With @wwwproektmedia, we reveal that he practices what he preaches. Kadyrov has a second wife — and she’s worth millions. 1/…
In 2006, when Fatima Khazuyeva was 14 years old, she took second place in an unusual Chechen beauty contest — and Kadyrov was in attendance. Multiple sources have confirmed that she is now his second wife. 2/
Chechnya is one of Russia's poorest regions. But Khazuyeva owns three Moscow apartments worth $5 million. She also has a large mansion in central Grozny, right by Kadyrov’s working residence. And her mother owns a for-profit rehabilitation center built near her home village. 3/
Read 5 tweets
2 Apr
NEW: Top Namibian officials allegedly siphoned millions of dollars from a state-backed fishing deal.

Bank records, emails, and scribbled notes show how some of this money was used to help the president get reelected.

Our latest with @TheNamibian 1/…
Financial and legal documents show that two officials close to President Hage Geingob set up several companies that skimmed $4.5m from a ~$640m contract that involved Fishcor, a state-owned fishing company. 2/
The two officials accused of helping devise this scheme are also awaiting trial for their role in #Fishrot, Namibia’s largest bribery scandal.

They are:
➡️ Sacky Shanghala: The attorney-general at the time.
➡️ James Hatuikulipi: The former chairman of the board of Fishcor. 3/
Read 6 tweets
31 Mar
NEW: Controversial Serbian businessman Stanko Subotić — who's currently suing OCCRP — sold land to French construction giant Vinci for 4x its estimated value.

Our latest #OpenLux investigation with @KRIKrs. 1/…
OCCRP reported in 2018 that Subotić, long linked to Balkan drug lord Darko Saric, was poised to reap millions from a Belgrade airport deal.

Today’s investigation shows the amount of money he received was far greater than initially projected. 2/…
When Nikola Tesla Airport was run by the state, land in the area was estimated to be worth ~€100 per sq meter by a gov’t advisory group.

But Vinci, the French firm that paid to be the airport's operator, ended up paying Subotić €436 per sq meter. He pocketed €47m. 3/
Read 7 tweets
29 Mar
NEW: OCCRP, @Reuters, @TheTimesofMalta, & @SZ reveal new details on the secret offshore companies and Chinese businessmen that journalist #DaphneCaruanaGalizia was investigating before her assassination — including the mysterious company "Macbridge." 1/…
What is Macbridge? Activists in Malta have pushed the gov’t to find out who’s behind the obscure company, which was mentioned by disgraced accounting firm Nexia BT in a leaked email that discussed channeling money to public officials. 2/
Today, we reveal that Macbridge is a Hong Kong-based firm tied to a prominent Chinese businessman who was also being relentlessly investigated by Caruana Galizia before her murder.

➡️ Chen Cheng, a senior exec at the Chinese branch of multinational consulting firm Accenture. 3/
Read 12 tweets
25 Mar
NEW: Ukraine’s top pro-Kremlin politician, Viktor Medvedchuk, and his business partner paid just $40,000 to secure a stake in a Russian energy firm.

It has since paid them tens of millions of dollars in dividends.

OCCRP and @cxemu investigate👇 1/…
This bargain sale, done via companies in Cyprus, was finalized on the same day in 2014 that dozens of gunmen in unmarked military fatigues, known as "little green men," stormed the Crimean parliament.

Both events have helped Russia assert influence in Ukraine. 2/
Medvedchuk and his business partner, Taras Kozak, were recently sanctioned by Ukraine’s government for allegedly financing terrorism. Three news channels under their control have been taken off the air. 3/
Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
NEW: A former CIA director and a Trump fundraiser arrived in Turkey in 2018 to help an imprisoned pastor.

What they didn't know was that their host, a businessman linked to Turkey’s president, was entangled in a half-billion-dollar fraud case. 1/…
OCCRP and @LawCrimeNews have reconstructed the backchannel trip, which saw former spy chief James Woolsey and current Republican National Committee co-chair Tommy Hicks Jr. attempt to secure the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson. 2/
Their Turkish host was Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a businessman implicated in a fraud case involving a Mormon fundamentalist sect, Armenian-American organized crime, and the theft of half a billion dollars from the U.S. government. 3/
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar
NEW: It’s been widely reported that the Estonian branch of Danske Bank let billions in suspicious money move through its accounts.

Now, a previously unseen report obtained by @berlingske provides stunning new details on how this looked in practice. 1/…
The report, produced by Estonian regulators in 2014, reads like a "how-to" of money laundering.

It lists technique after technique the bank’s shady foreign clients used to move large sums.

It also makes clear that the bank had little interest in questioning its clients. 2/
For example, the bank’s "relationship managers" accepted documentation from clients written in Azerbaijani, though no one on the team spoke the language.

(The bank said that one of its employees used Google Translate). 3/
Read 11 tweets
12 Mar
ANNOUNCEMENT: OCCRP is being sued by Stanko Subotić, a powerful Serbian businessman whom we've written about in several investigations.

We stand by our reporting and will not be intimidated by vexatious lawsuits.…
OCCRP Publisher @DrewOCCRP and @KRIK journalist @DraganaPeco are also named in this suit, which is over this story from 2018. 2/…
Subotić alleges OCCRP and KRIK published the story as part of a media campaign against him orchestrated by the Serbian secret service, the mafia, and corrupt politicians.

"Mr. Subotić has no evidence of these demonstrably false claims," said Sullivan. 3/
Read 7 tweets
11 Mar
NEW: A Miami mansion, ties to Italian crime figures, and a bar shootout.

Meet Artur Shehu: An Albanian businessman who has been accused of building a property empire of stolen land in Albania.

Our investigation with @MiamiHerald: 1/…
Shehu, who offered OCCRP’s reporter "whatever you want" in exchange for dropping the story, is accused of stealing land meant to be returned to Albanians after the collapse of its communist government.

Italian police have linked him to drug trafficking and money laundering. 2/
A former special forces soldier, Shehu allegedly prospered in drug trafficking.

But his time in Albania ended in 1999 after his uncle was gunned down at Shehu’s bar, dying in his arms. 3/
Read 6 tweets
10 Mar
NEW: Two Belarusian businessmen with ties to the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko have sprawling business empires that, we reveal, extend to Lithuania.

OCCRP, @Sienalt, and @Belsat_TV investigate their business activity in this EU member state. 1/…
2/ Alexei Aleksin and Alexander Zaytsev are a new breed of Belarusian businessmen: relatively young, global in outlook, and free from EU sanctions.

The pair emerged just as Belarus’s previous generation of oligarchs were sanctioned.
3/ When Aleksin decided to launch his own cigarette factory, Lukashenko personally redrew the borders of the Belarusian capital to ensure it would be located outside the city, and therefore less encumbered by building regulations.
Read 7 tweets
10 Mar
THREAD: Pro-government media in Serbia have launched a smear campaign that falsely ties OCCRP member center @KRIKrs to a Serbian crime gang.

These outlets are putting journalists’ lives in danger. #PressFreedom…
Serbian pro-government tabloids have published stories falsely accusing @KRIKrs and its editor in chief @StevanOCCRP of having ties to the Kavač — a violent Montenegrin gang that KRIK exposed in a major 2020 investigation. 2/…
"This blatantly false accusation puts KRIK journalists in serious danger — by linking them to the Kavač gang’s criminal activities, these pro-state tabloids provide criminal groups justification for murder."

OCCRP Co-Founder @drewoccrp 3/
Read 5 tweets
2 Mar
NEW: Sixteen years after Azerbaijani journalist Elmar Huseynov was gunned down steps from his apartment, OCCRP has obtained FBI files laying out a slew of missteps by Azerbaijani authorities. #ElmarHuseynov 1/…
2/ Huseynov was known for writing that targeted the wealthy and powerful of Azerbaijan. OCCRP reporting shows that with the probe into his death long stalled, one murder suspect has been living freely in Georgia, buying up property.
3/ According to @rebecca_vincent with @RSF_en, the murder "was no doubt intended to send a clear signal not to cross certain red lines, and was effective in creating a chilling effect that can still be felt to this day."
Read 4 tweets
26 Feb
NEW: British American Tobacco has oversupplied Mali with cigarettes for years, knowing their product falls into the hands of traffickers, jihadists, and armed militias.

Our #BigTobacco investigation with @CENOZO_Afrique. 1/…
@CENOZO_Afrique How The Illicit Trade Works:

•BAT oversupplies Mali with cigarette packs with "clean labels," meaning they can be sold widely, including in Europe.
•They are smuggled north through militia-controlled regions
•Insurgents and jihadists linked to IS and al-Qaida profit 2/
@CENOZO_Afrique Islamists, militias, and corrupt officials work together to smuggle BAT’s cigarettes — mainly the Dunhill brand — through Mali’s lawless deserts, sources told OCCRP.

“Armed groups play the role of customs,” an ex-employee of a BAT distributor said. “Yes, [BAT] knows.” 3/
Read 8 tweets