Gerard Ryle – Director, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Gerard Ryle led the worldwide teams of journalists working on the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations, the biggest in journalism history. Ryle is a book author and TED speaker. He has won or shared in more than 50 journalism awards from seven different countries, including the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. He and his ICIJ colleagues also shared an Emmy Award with the U.S. television program 60 Minutes. In this exclusive interview he talks to Martin Woods about the Panama and Paradise Papers leaks and their impact on the political, legal and financial landscape.

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Well, welcome everybody to this conversation. I’m at the top of the world. I’m in a room called Everest here in Grant Thornton’s office in Sydney, so I’m very grateful to Grant Thornton for allowing us to use their office and I’m both excited and delighted because I’m sat opposite Gerard Ryle, the head of the ICIJ. The man who co-ordinated leaks, an award winning journalist, Pulitzer prize winner, together with his colleagues at the ICIJ, three George Polk awards, an ally of our global anti-money laundering community, a man who pursues the truth, publishes facts, and was once described as in the top 100 information heroes of the world we live in today.

Let’s get straight into it Gerard. Thanks very, very much for being here. You co-ordinated the Panama leaks three years ago, three and a half years ago; indexed, analysed, distributed and actually simultaneously published in 78 countries. Can you tell us, be as long as you like with the answer, the positive outcome from the leaks that still resonate today?

Yeah, look, I think we, well we’ve certainly changed laws around the world. I think we’re talking, you know, multiple countries if not dozens of countries, that instigated investigations after we published. I mean the most spectacular results of course were in politics where a few days after we published, the Icelandic prime minister had to resign. In Pakistan, it took almost a year, but the prime minister there also had to resign. That was after a series of Court cases where he was being accused of being corrupt, after long drawn out protests.

You know, there were lots of public protests in the streets in the UK and Malta, in Pakistan. In Iceland I think they surrounded the Parliament, they threw yoghurt and bananas at the Parliament building until the prime minister resigned.

So all of that was very positive. I think in terms of actual dollars, the tax offices of the world all got together and decided to pursue the leaks and pursue the people that we… whose names we had published. And I think so far, we can quantify about US$1.2 billion that has been recovered by tax offices around the world as a result of the stories.

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