Offshore A-Z is a digital repository of companies operating across major tax havens. Offshore A-Z exploits the inscrutability of such companies to speculate on their possible nature and intent. Each company listed on here is real, but the information surrounding these consist of both actual records, obtained by the Demystification Committee, and speculative images and mission statements, generated by algorithms.

Tax havens, or secrecy jurisdictions, employ laws and corporate regulations different from those of most jurisdictions, using secrecy as a prime tool. Furthermore, the agents operating offshore on behalf of clients elsewhere have been observed by the Demystification Committee to willfully introduce mistakes in the records held on the companies they help forming. (Offshore Investigation Vehicle, p. 87)

When offshore companies are but a bundle of papers held in private storages, these practices contribute to a number of possible configurations of any given offshore company, whose records are at once factually correct and conveniently flawed.

Offshore A-Z plays with the idea that truth is not one nor static, and that it does not need to be upheld equally at all times or in all fora.

Obtaining the data

The data contained within Offshore A-Z comes from a number of sources. Prior to the Offshore Leaks, the snippets of information available on offshore companies were largely confined to the outdated online registrars kept by tax havens, as an empty gesture towards transparency. Employing data scraping techniques, the Demystification Committee extracted records on hundreds of thousands of companies appearing in a number of such registrars.

Yielding varying amounts of information, and naturally full of gaps - sometimes full company details and descriptions, sometimes little more than a name - the records were cross referenced with data from the ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks as well as Financial Secrecy Index scores from the Tax Justice Network, and compiled into a single searchable database.

Training the algorithms

Algorithms were then trained to fill in the gaps in information. Using keywords from the company’s records as a trigger, the algorithms associate images with each nondescript company and complete missing fields by guessing possible incorporation dates or by generating corporate mission statement via a simple neural network. The coherency and accuracy of the neural network is directly undermined by the opaque source material, or incomplete input records. Finally, companies previously named in the Offshore Leaks ( for example) are hyperlinked to the relevant entry on the ICIJ database, allowing user to investigate further.

Compiling the template

The resulting information is autonomously built into a Web 2.0 page, employing a visual grammar similar to that used by existing registrars of companies. However, under intense scrutiny, the template mealts away revealing warm hues and floating forms.

This cycle of actions is repeated for each unreleased company found in the database and publicly announced by a Twitter bot.

Zooming in

Among the companies listed on the Offshore A-Z, a few appearing to be embedded in complex offshore vehicles were further investigated, resulting in three stories focusing on the funding behind Leave.EU, the corporate tax-avoidance of Barclays and the colonial origins of HSBC.

Offshore A-Z is a project by the Demystification Committee.

HONGKONG TIGER DIGNITY CO., LIMITED

Company Name HONGKONG TIGER DIGNITY CO., LIMITED
Date of Registration 28th April 1999
Company Objective A.p11 of energy and related in particulate needed for the account of third parties, and to provide care-to: the extraction of section c. 5. The carry out act as customs for the provision of all other rights arians on matters in applicable laws and regulations. 8. The providing services and giving advice, courses and training in the field of marketing.; 4 the rent, lease, sub-lease, granting of mortgage or otherwise of security rights in movable and immovable property or related rights and interests; g. the setting of bail and other guarantees and ownership transfer whether in fiduciary or trust or mortgage, pledge or otherwise encumber assets, all this as security for the payment of debts more company and the debts of other legal or natural persons who are directly or indirectly linked to the company, whether or not for contraprestatie. 15. the benefit of management, staff, employees and / or former employees of the company or of its affiliates and / or closing their survivors to: standing right, annuity contracts and agreements of pension insurance with an insurer who is in possession of a authorization referred to in Article 5, first paragraph, of the State Ordinance supervision insurance; 8. building and ensuring pension in favor of - and making distributions to shareholders Directors of the Company or its affiliates, and their survivors; 12. acting as finance and mediating in the realization of financing of all types of transactions; 11. the company's activities under paragraph 11 can only carry out in such a way that they do not as a credit institution as defined in Article 1 paragraph 1 of the Credit System can be considered as a credit institution as defined in Article 1 paragraph 1 of the Ordinance Supervision Credit System can be considered. It is also expressly prohibited without exemption, to perform Banking transactions referred to in Article 48 of the Ordinance Supervision; 6. directly or indirectly invest its assets in property and r
Country
hong kong special administrative region of the people's republic of china
Financial Secrecy Index [more info] 72