Demystification Committee

Offshore A-Z

Offshore A-Z is a digital repository of companies operating across twelve tax havens. Each company listed on Offshore A-Z is real, but the facts featured in its online entry consist of both company data, obtained by the Demystification Committee, and speculative images and mission statements, generated by algorithms. This exploits the gaps in information and the inscrutability of companies registered in tax havens to guess on their possible nature and intent.

Offshore A-Z gives form to a large amount of company data to begin grasping the size of offshore corporate finance, while speculating on the intents of those behind it.

Prior to the 2016 Panama Papers leak, the snippets of information available on offshore companies were largely confined to the outdated online registrars kept by tax havens, as an empty gesture towards transparency. Records on ½ million companies, and naturally full of gaps, were extracted from a dozen registrars and compiled into a single database.

An attempt has been made to create algorithms to fill in the gaps. Using keywords from the company’s available data as a trigger, they associate images with each nondescript company and complete missing fields by guessing possible registration dates or generating corporate mission statement via a neural network. The haphazard nature of these algorithms and their input data means they often fail in regards to coherency or accuracy.

The information is autonomously built into a web page which is publicly announced by a Twitter bot. This cycle of actions is repeated for each company in the database.

Built in similar Web 2.0 fashion to existing registrars of companies, Offshore A-Z breaks away from the template if observed for long enough, revealing tropical hues and floating forms.