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Panama Registry of companies

Frequently used by investigative reporters for diverse investigations, the Panama registry of companies is a great tool for journalists and activists interested in issues pertaining to corruption and tax avoidance.

With details on directors, registration and subscribers, the Panama registry of companies is very similar to the chamber of commerce in many countries – a place where you can check the names associated to (and occasionally ownership of) all companies and non-profits ever registered.

The website allows you to browse through their database after you have registered (registration is free). However, to access the data you must know the name of the company you want information on.

To circumvent this issue, Dan O'Huiginn, a hacker working for the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, has scraped the official database to create a new one that allows you to enter the name of a person and see what companies he or she is affiliated to. Paul Radu gives us the example of the Azerbaijani president's daughters -- after entering their names in this search engine, he discovered that they owned several companies registered in Panama.

The Investigative Dashboard has produced two video tutorials to help you navigate through both interfaces: click here for the one on the official The Panama registry of companies website and here to learn more about using Dan O'Huiginn's scraped version.

To access a list of worldwide registers, have a look at http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm.