The Wheeler Centre
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Shelling Out: Bastian Obermayer and the Panama Papers
The Panama Papers, which made headlines across the world in 2016, represent the biggest data leak in the history of journalism.
The 11.5 million documents, leaked from a Panamanian law firm by an anonymous source, revealed secret information about shell companies and offshore tax havens and the details of the individuals who exploit them – including many heads of state and international celebrities. The scale of the investigation was monumental, involving 370 journalists from 76 countries and sparking protests, police raids and government inquiries across the world.
Bastian Obermayer was the man who received the first batch of documents that sparked this unprecedented investigation. He's a reporter at Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, started the worldwide Panama Papers investigation with his colleague Frederik Obermaier and coordinated the team with the ICIJ.
For this conversation, he’s joined by Sydney journalist Neil Chenoweth, who has published outstanding work on the Australian Panama documents for the Australian Financial Review. The pair talk secret sources and stashpiles of the rich and famous with host Nassim Khadem.
Presented in partnership with the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne.
Bastian Obermayer won a Pulitzer Prize for leading the worldwide investigation into the Panama Papers, which exposed a global web of off-shore tax havens linked to politicians, megabanks and drug kingpins. He is the co-author of an account of the story, which became a best-selling book called The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money. He is deputy head of the investigative unit of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Munich-based newspaper.
Neil Chenoweth is a Walkey-winning senior investigative reporter for the Australian Financial Review and the author of three books investigating the finances of Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp. He was one of the main reporters on the Panama Papers in Australia, exposing who was involved in the tax-dodging conspiracy in this country.
Nassim Khadem is an award-winning business journalist for the ABC. She has reported extensively on finance and tax, including on the Paradise Papers, for Fairfax Media and is the former deputy editor of Business Day.