ACDC & PPLAAF partner to mine leaked DRC bank data for anti-money laundering insights

The Anti-Corruption Data Collective (ACDC) and the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) today announced a new project to analyze millions of documents leaked from BGFIBank. The project will identify typologies and patterns of trade-based money laundering and assess the impact of whistleblowers and anti-corruption policies on suspected money-laundering activity.

Known as the Congo Hold-Up leak after the international investigative reporting project that published dozens of articles and reports using the data beginning in 2021, the leak contains over 3.5 million bank statements, emails, contracts, bills, corporate records, and the details of millions of banking transactions. BGFIBank occupies a central nexus in the DRC’s financial system and appears to have served as a conduit both for bribes to enrich the Kabila regime and a clearing house for payments across the commodities sector.

David Szakonyi, Co-Founder of ACDC and Associate Professor of Political science at George Washington University, said: “Journalists and researchers have done an incredible job using the Congo Hold-Up data to expose the inner workings of the most politically connected bank in DRC. But there’s a lot more that this data can reveal in the hands of data scientists and academics, particularly when it comes to generating evidence to guide anti-corruption policy and advocacy.”

The documents were obtained by PPLAAF and Mediapart and shared with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). John Dell’Osso, Director of Investigations at PPLAAF, said:

“Partnering with academics and data scientists through the Anti-Corruption Data Collective helps us ensure that the Congo Hold-Up investigations have the greatest possible impact on illicit financial flows. Among the research questions we will address are how BGFIBank was used to help circulate dirty money around the globe, and how different policies impacted those flows.”

The research team also includes: Florian Hollenbach, Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School; Matthew Collin, Senior Researcher at the EU Tax Observatory; Henri Thulliez, Executive Director at PPLAAF; Jimmy Kande, Director for West and Francophone Africa at PPLAAF; and Gabriel Bourdon-Fattal, Director of Programs at PPLAAF. The project is supported by a multi-year grant from the Governance & Integrity Anti-Corruption Excellence (GI-ACE) program, hosted by the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Hornsby
Impact Manager
Anti-Corruption Data Collective

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