Open Lux – Brazil

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: OCCRP, Revista Piaui

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 08/02/2021

Credit: Luiz Fernando Toledo, Jonny Wrate (OCCRP), Allan de Abreu, Fernanda da Escóssia, José Roberto de Toledo and Thais Bilenky (revista piauí)


Luiz Fernando Toledo (luizftoledo.com) is a data and investigative journalist who has worked and published in some of the most relevant news media in Brazil on broadcast, print and multimedia (CNN, OCCRP, Intercept, Revista Piauí, Rede Globo, Estadão, etc). In the past 10 years, he received more than ten journalistic awards and was the recipient of multiple fellowships and scholarships, including the University of Oxford’s Trust in News Fellowship (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism) ICFJ’s fellowship (A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America) and Instituto Ling’s Visionary Journalist (Jornalista de Visão) scholarship. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration (FGV-EAESP) and is pursuing a second master of science in Data Journalism, at Columbia University (Columbia Journalism School), after being awarded a full scholarship.

Project description:

French newspaper Le Monde managed to scrape the Luxembourg companies registry’s website and obtain 3.3 million documents, covering over 140,000 companies based in Luxembourg. It then shared them with OCCRP and other reporting partners across the globe, including Revista Piaui, in Brazil, allowing us to dig deeper into the people actually benefiting from these firms. We’ve found 300 companies owned by Brazilian people and some of them were not disclosed to the government authorities. That is the case of mother of a famous politician (former governor and presidential candidate) has a company there and didn’t tell the Brazilian authorities about

Impact reached:

Prosecutors said the investigations against the politician, how a congressman should be reopened because of the story’s findings. We’ve also found that a lawyer who works closely to president Jair Bolsonaro had a company in Luxembourg and he admitted it was not declared to brazilian authorities.

Techniques/technologies used:

Webscraping, Python, SQL, Google Spreadsheets, FOIA requests

What was the hardest part of this project?

We needed to understand the importance of having a hidden in Luxembourg and how it connects to people’s past, like current or past investigations, their assets, etc. 

What can others learn from this project?

Collaborative journalism is the key for some of the most important journalistic findings.

Project links: