Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 17 September 2023

Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Source: By The Indian Express

After Hindenburg, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has made fresh allegations of stock manipulation against the Adani Group.

OCCRP’s report, published on 31 August 2023, claims that exclusive documents obtained by it show that “in at least two cases … [supposedly public] investors turn out to have widely reported ties to the group’s majority shareholders, the Adani family”, and helped manipulate Adani companies’ stock prices.

The Adani Group has categorically rejected these allegations, terming them as a “concerted bid by Soros-funded interests” to “revive the meritless Hindenburg report”.

We look at what the OCCRP iswho it is backed by, and the kind of work it has done over the years.

A global network of investigative reporters

OCCRP wasn’t really planned – it was born of necessity. We were all working on the same intractable problems in our own countries. But a couple of us realised this, and communicated.” This is a quote from one of OCCRP’s co-founders, Drew Sullivan.

American Sullivan and Bulgarian Paul Radu, both investigative journalists, founded OCCRP in 2006, after they realised the similarities in their experiences of investigating and reporting on organised crime and systemic corruption.

Initially funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), the OCCRP network first opened an office in Sarajevo. Over the years, the OCCRP has grown from six journalists working in five countries to more than 150 journalists in 30 countries. The idea is to have a global network of journalists with easy communication and information-sharing so that global networks of corruption and crime can be better understood and exposed.

The OCCRP also collaborates with regional partners, including Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)Centro Latino Americano de Investigacion Periodistica (CLIP), and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). It is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network as well.

Impact over the years

As per its own records, since 2009 reporting by the OCCRP has directly led to 398 official investigations621 arrests and sentences, 131 resignations, and $10 billion+ in fines levied and money seized.

It has been involved in many high-profile probes over the years, including multiple investigations on Russia’s oligarchs and Vladimir Putin. The OCCRP also worked on the Panama Papers project with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, producing more than 40 stories on corruption through the use of offshore entities, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize Journalism.

The organisation has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its work “contributing to peace by unmasking political corruption and organized crime.”

Does OCCPR have a Soros connection?

Adani’s statement against the OCCPR calls it “Soros-backed”. Earlier this year, critical comments made by billionaire advocacy funder George Soros about Narendra Modi and Gautam Adani, post the Hindenburg report had drawn a lot of flak from India’s ruling party and its supporters. Since then, Soros’s name has frequently been used to discredit criticism targetted at the government, or in this case, Adani.

As per OCCRP’s website, Soros’s Open Society Foundations is one of its 21 major institutional funders. Other supporters include The Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund, the US Department of State, Ford Foundation, German Marshall Fund and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The OCCRP is thus supported both by state and non-state institutional actors, as well as smaller individual donors.

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