Elizabeth Salazar Vega, Óscar Castilla Contreras, Jason Martinez, Ernesto Cabral, Gianfranco Rossi
Track the money route is the best way to understand the politics of these times and the penetration of money of illicit origin in political organizations, especially in countries like Peru, vulnerable to money laundering and considered at this time the first producer of cocaine in the world. For this reason, in Ojo-Público we developed an investigation based on the massive analysis of millions of data constructed from scratch and then analyze them and establish maps of relations between the financiers of political organizations and the groups investigated by organized crime. So we build Funds of lie: Campaign financing and criminal networks, the first database that analyzes crime networks in politics. 1. The platform combines the massive analysis of three million pieces of information, the processing of judicial files and journalistic reporting in order to establish and reveal the links of organized crime with the financiers of more than 370 political organizations in Peru.2. With a database constructed with information obtained through journalistic investigation and then processed with the support of technology, a detailed network map was established on the criminal networks of different illicit activities, such as drug trafficking, corruption of the Lavajato case, environmental crimes and money laundering, with the financiers of political organizations.3. The journalistic investigation was developed during a year of investigation and the processing of data was in charge of a team of reporters and programmers.4. The platform provides a search engine with a database that details the financial profile of 370 political organizations and the criminal map of 65 of them.
What makes this project innovative?
1. For the first time in Peru, a journalistic investigation on historical financing was developed and presented by 370 political organizations. It was also the first time that a platform was developed that contains, in addition to investigative reports, a powerful search engine to know the detail of the political parties.2. In a context of financial opacity and illegal contributions associated with the Lavajato case, this platform presents new information to empower the citizen in his decisions and opinions regarding politics in Peru. The platform combines and disseminates information contained in judicial files on the links of political parties with illegal money financing.3. The platform develops and visualizes 65 maps of political party relations with organized crime.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
1. The database and the storys of the platform contain new information on the systematic links of some political organizations with criminal organizations and investigated cases.2. The analysis of the information reveals how those investigated by organized crime financed electoral campaigns between 2006 and 2017.3. The results of the platform were replicated in several national media (5 national channels y 5 newspapers) and the information in the database gives about the political parties in 6 diferents regions.4. The judicial authorities have recognized that the tool will provide fundamental information for the cases of ongoing investigation of illicit financing.5. The platform releases information of public interest that the authorities in Peru usually hide.
Source and methodology
What information does a citizen need to know about a political organization? This was the question that guided the research and development of the platform. The team prioritized the construction of three types of database that would allow establishing relationships between financiers and main political leaders with people investigated for cases of organized crime. The first built from information extracted from public portals; the second, with its own information as a result of the investigation and journalistic reporting: judicial files, financial reports, due diligence, debt reports, criminal records, among other documents of a reserved nature.The third was the result of the analysis of the others: a database of relationships between different characters. These types of relationships were defined: Amical: when there is a relationship of friendship or camaraderie between the characters; Of complicity: if both characters form part of a fiscal or judicial file; Labor: if those involved worked together or were part of the same government management; Corporate: if both characters are partners or shareholders of the same company; Familiar: if there is a relationship between people; and Benefit: for all the characters who benefit from the pardons or commutations of sentences.The team consisted of three journalists and two programmers who, for 9 months, requested 25 requests for information, built a dataset of more than three million data, researched and wrote stories. The platform contains reports and a powerful and unprecedented search engine of 370 political organizations from all over the country. The team chose a presentation of the platform inspired by the Monopoly board game because it recreates the path of political organizations to achieve power. The road, as research reveals, is often associated with money that comes from people linked to illicit economic activities.
We use spreadsheets for the construction of the data and then for the analysis Neo4J and Openrefine in a first stage of analysis, and Python for the extraction of data. The backend was built in Django, the visualizations were developed with D3.js and the search engine with elasticsearch.