The Miami Herald won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for Panama Papers investigation and editorial cartoons. The investigation exposed the schemes that millionaires employ in the secret world of offshore companies.
The Herald, McClatchy and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists were all awarded with 2017 prize for their explanatory reporting. The media outlets unveiled the trove of leaked documents that exposed a financial system of tax havens that are preferred by tax dodgers, corrupt politicians, and drug dealers.
Jim Morin was awarded the 2017 prize for editorial cartooning. Morin is now a two-time Pulitzer winner, he first won the desired prize in 1996. Speaking at the center of the newsroom, Morin expressed his joy after being awarded the prize, adding he didn’t expect to get the prize now that he’s in his late career.
Herald received the prestigious journalism prizes on Monday, they both marked the 21st and 22nd prizes to be awarded to the Herald since 1951. The newspaper won its first Pulitzer medal in 1951 for public service.
The Panama Papers investigation prompted political resignations from top officials. The prime minister of Iceland was one of the leaders who resigned. The investigations also prompted lawsuits, tax investigations and regulatory reform over shadow companies and money laundering. The first installments were published sometime last April and they have thus earned many awards ever since.
ICIJ developers built a search engine that was used by reporters on the project to peruse the leaked documents, including several others from the Herald, the search engine was protected by two-factor authentication. The reporters then shared their findings using a real-time chat system and encrypted email, exchanging tips and helping each other with translations.
Nehamas, who was an investigative reporter involved in the project revealed that the investigations brought together journalists from so many different countries, speaking so many languages, to tell a story that would’ve been impossible for a single newsroom to tell.
Nehamas and Wyss, then the Herald’s real-estate reporter, found that Franklin Durán had created a shell company through Mossack Fonseca. The company claimed to follow rules requiring it to know the identity of its customers.
Leo Sisti, who is an Italian investigative reporter and ICIJ member alongside with Nehamas, also exposed Italian businessman Giuseppe Donaldo Nicosia, who allegedly masterminded a $48 million tax fraud, laundered his illegal profits using an offshore company set up by two Miami firms.
Scores of shell corporations were traced by McClatchy’s Tim Johnson to a single zombie director. The director was a 55-year-old Filipina named Nesita Manceau who lists her occupation as a housewife and yet sits on the board on paper, at least of companies including one tied to an arms-running scandal involving North Korea and Iran. Editor Casey Frank edited the two Herald stories. The Panama Papers was also a Pulitzer finalist in the international reporting category, where it was originally entered in the competition.