The Panama Papers exposé, which triggered an international uproar that led to billions in the recovery of taxes from high-level government officials, public figures, and enterprises have piqued the interest of researchers at the University of Southern California.
As part of a new study, released in the journal Applied Network Science, researchers at USC aimed to study the Panama Papers network similarly to how they would analyze a social network on a platform, like say, Facebook, for instance. This, in turn, would purportedly result in a more comprehensive understanding of the network behavior and the amount of money moved offshores.
“We perform such a study, with a focus on structure as a means of expressing and quantifying the complexity of the underlying system. We used network science as a standard scientific framework for this analysis,” the co-authors stated in their findings.
The research team at USC uncovered that the Panama Papers network had a series of secretive disconnected fragments as opposed to highly integrated connections, with entities, intermediaries, and people implicated in transactions and corporating involving only the bare minimal connections with other entities in the system.
“It was really unusual. The degree of fragmentation is something I have never seen before,” said Mayank Kejriwal, the study’s lead author, in a news release.
“I’m not aware of any other network that has this kind of fragmentation.”