The Pandora Papers leak is a classic fast-emerging complex news story. But how can organizations potentially exposed to both risk and opportunity come to a rapid understanding of the scale and nature of those risks? 

The leak, obtained by the ICIJ, consists of over 12 million documents detailing wealth management, tax avoidance and offshore financial arrangements of both individuals and organizations. These arrangements may be legal, but nevertheless can cause significant reputational damage, but the story does not stop there: in the wake of these revelations, we can expect to see both governments and financial institutions act on this knowledge in ways that can have wide-reaching implications. 

In this environment, understanding what has happened, and what might be about to happen, can be of critical importance. To give just a selection of examples:

  • As discussed in a previous piece on this blog, financial organizations have a legal obligation to act on ‘adverse media’ relating to clients.
  • Legal changes, such as to international tax law, can have major implications for organizations whether named within the Pandora Papers or not.
  • Political changes within countries as an immediate effect of the papers can have business and diplomatic implications for any organization dealing with that country.

The list goes on, of course. And to make matters more complicated, there are particular challenges in a situation such as this, when a huge amount of data has been made public overnight.

Finding the signal in the noise

As noted above, the Pandora Papers extend to 12 million documents and over 2.9 terabytes of data. This is not an amount of information that can be consumed by a human, or indeed a large team of humans, overnight. Manually interrogating the Pandora Papers is not a realistic option. Instead, understanding any potential exposure means relying, to some extent, on the media to surface those stories that may be relevant to us.

It is no surprise to see that when we run an analysis of pieces relating to the Pandora Papers in the media, we see a focus on the household names and major politicians who have been implicated. This stands to reason, and nobody would fault mainstream titles focusing on the angle most interesting to their readers. 

But for organizations with the type of risks mentioned above, it is vital to dig deeper in order to find information relating to the specific individuals or organizations (or entities, if you like) that they need to monitor.

Again, this is not a manual job. Search Google News for “Pandora Papers” and you’ll have 280,000,000 results to work your way through: such is the nature of a major international news story. And as we have noted previously, simply adding the name of the entity you are interested in to that search has no guarantee of finding what you need

Instead, what is required is the ability to interrogate the full range of global media, and automatically surface those items of specific interest to the organization: the items that relate to the countries, territories, individuals or organizations we have a specific interest in. A system like this enables us to see beyond the surface, and into the data that actually matters to us. That system, as you may have guessed, is AYLIEN News API.

That's why we've put together some basic data visualizations, based on the simple query "Pandora Papers", to demonstrate some of the News API's capabilities. 

The time series below shows the volume of articles over time which mention "Pandora Papers". Practically overnight it becomes one of the biggest news stories in the world, mentioned in 10,732 stories at its peak on October 4th, before inevitably fading. It is still simmering away, however, with spikes on October 8th and 13th as the consequences of the leak began to unfold, such as the impeachment bid against the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera. 

The trend analysis below contains entities associated with Pandora Papers, including many of the people and places you'll no doubt have seen in the mainstream media, such as Tony Blair, Shakira, and the British Virgin Isles. However it's interesting to see the mentions of a place like South Dakota, which was revealed in the leak as a $367bn tax haven.

Like the Pandora Papers itself, the above data visualizations are just the tip of the iceberg, and AYLIEN News API enables a huge amount of investigative capabilities, thanks to its key abilities, namely:

  • The ability to gather news stories from the full range of global media - with over 80,000 titles from over 200 countries being covered
  • The ability to structure that data, using natural language processing (NLP) to accurately specify the entities that any given story relates to, and
  • The ability to distribute that news data to end users at scale, and allow those users to interrogate that data across entity, category, sentiment and more

In this way AYLIEN allows any organization to make sense of the vast amount of data within the Pandora Papers, and more importantly inform action in order to respond to the risks and opportunities identified as a result. And it enables that process to happen quickly: minimizing that risk and helping avoid reputational damage.

Try AYLIEN News API today, for free, by signing up for our 14 day trial here

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