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From Leaks to Justice: Challenges and Opportunities for the Judiciary in the Age of Disclosure

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The Corporate Crime Observatory (CCO) is partnering with Boston College Law School, Manchester Law School, and the University of Roehampton to organize the International Roundtable "From Leaks to Justice: Challenges and Opportunities for the Judiciary in the Age of Disclosure", which will serve as a comprehensive platform for exploring the impact of leaks such as Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, and LuxLeaks on the pursuit of justice. This event is also organized in cooperation with the Italian Judicial College (Scuola Superiore della Magistratura – Sede Decentrata di Napoli), the Moldovan National Institute of Justice (Institutul Naţional al Justiţiei), the Government Accountability Project, the Association of Corporate Investigators, and Whistleblower Partners LLP. We are also honored that the Italian Economic-Financial Police School of the Guardia di Finanza has decided to participate in the event, including it as a special training session offered to its officers. The purpose of the event is to discuss this topic with top-level experts and relevant stakeholders to establish a fruitful knowledge-exchange process.

The International Roundtable will take place on Zoom on May 22, 2024, from 2:30 pm BST (9:30 am EDT, 3:30 pm CEST).
Join for free registering for this international roundtable

In particular, this scientific event, tailored for members of the judiciary and other legal professionals, will be divided into two main sessions.

The first session will introduce the phenomenon of leaks and aim to demonstrate how these disclosures are crucial in unveiling covert activities, not only related to the illicit financial flows associated with offenses like tax evasion, corruption, and money laundering, but also concerning ethically questionable practices such as tax avoidance and undisclosed conflicts of interest, particularly among public officials. A special focus will be placed on discussing how the leaks may shed light on the roles played by professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors, in enabling or facilitating such malpractices. The discussion will illuminate the role of investigative journalism in bringing these issues to light as well as the processes involved in these disclosures, including how documents are explored, analyzed, stored, and made accessible. It will also highlight the relationship between legal practitioners and journalists.

The second session will seek to provide legal practitioners, especially prosecutors and judges, with an understanding of some of the difficulties in translating the leaked pieces of information into legal actions. Specifically, the discussion will focus on how prosecutors may utilize these revelations to further their investigative efforts, and how the disclosed information may be used as admissible evidence in legal proceedings. The discussion will also offer insights into the ways in which legal practitioners may engage with financial institutions or other relevant stakeholders post-leak. This session will also include discussions on the balance between transparency and confidentiality as well as the legal and ethical dilemmas that may arise when handling this sensitive information.

One of the primary objectives of this event is to foster a constructive dialogue and create synergy between investigative journalists and legal practitioners. Often, the work carried out by journalists, who expose wrongdoings thanks to the documents and pieces of information disclosed by leakers and whistleblowers, operates in a parallel yet disconnected dimension from the actions undertaken by the judiciary. This discussion aims to bridge this gap, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between these two spheres. By exploring the methodologies journalists use to bring sensitive information into the public domain, and then discussing how legal operators may translate this information into actionable legal proceedings, this initiative seeks to unlock a significant potential for enhancing the pursuit of justice. The synergistic approach not only aims to amplify the impact of disclosed information but also to ensure that such exposure leads to tangible legal outcomes, thereby upholding fundamental democratic values by promoting transparency and accountability in compliance with respect for human rights.

This CCO event is co-organized by Prof. Diane Ring, who serves as a Professor in Law at Boston College Law School, Dr. Costantino Grasso, who serves as an Associate Professor of Law at Manchester Law School, and Dr. Donato Vozza, who serves as a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Roehampton.

Before starting the discussion, we will enjoy brief welcome addresses from our esteemed institutional partners who have supported this event, and in particular from:

  • Maj. Gen. Francesco Mattana, , Commander of the Economic-Financial Police School of the Guardia di Finanza.

  • Barbara Modesta Grasso, Coordinator of the International and European Criminal Law Division at the Naples branch of the Italian School of the Judiciary.

  • Olga Marandici, Head of the International Relations Section, National Institute of Justice, Republic of Moldova.

  • Tom Divine, Project’s Legal Director at the Government Accountability Project.

  • Ashu Sharma, Executive Head of Advisory of the Association of Corporate Investigators.

The event will then start with the case study: "The Anatomy of the Leaks: A Case Study Approach for Legal Professionals," which will be presented by Mary Inman, Lawyer and Partner at Whistleblower Partners LLP. 

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Moderator: Diane Ring

Diane is a Professor of Law and the Dr. Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law. She researches and writes primarily in the field of international taxation, corporate taxation, and ethical issues in tax practice. Her recent work addresses issues including information exchange, tax leaks, international tax relations, sharing economy and human equity transactions, and ethics in international tax. Diane was a consultant for the United Nation’s 2014 project on tax base protection for developing countries, and the U.N.'s 2013 project on treaty administration for developing countries.


Scilla Alecci

Scilla is an investigative reporter and video journalist for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). She is also the partnership coordinator for Asia and Europe. Originally from Italy, before relocating to the U.S., Scilla was based in Tokyo, where she worked for Bloomberg News and other news organizations. In 2016, she was a member of the Japanese reporting team that took part in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers investigation.


Amedeo Barletta

Amedeo (Ph.D.) is a lawyer and researcher specializing in transnational criminal law. He has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at various Italian universities (e.g., LUISS, Vanvitelli, Federico II). Additionally, he has worked as a Legal Secretary at the Court of Justice of the European Union and as a Legal Advisor at the Italian Ministry of European Affairs. Currently, he serves as the Vice Chair of the European Criminal Bar Association.


Mario Bendoni

Mario is a Public Prosecutor at the Court of Turin. For almost ten years he has been dealing with bankruptcy, corporate, tax and money laundering offences; he also conducted investigations on false accounting and market manipulation, committed within the framework of companies listed on the Italian market. He is now investigating criminal associations and the infiltration into the economic framework. He is speaker at conferences, author of publications and coordinator of projects on international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.


Italo Borrello

Italo is Staff Director at the Regulation and Institutional Collaboration Directorate of the Italian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). He holds a Ph.D. in "Organization and Functioning of Public Administrations" (1994), and serves as an associate lecturer in several courses and master's degrees. He joined the Bank of Italy in 1994 and has served in the FIU since 2008, dealing with the prevention and fight against money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. He is involved in international fora and working groups, and, as evaluator, in teams for the assessment of the AML/CFT systems. 


William Bourdon

William is a prominent lawyer specializing in human rights. He has represented several top-level whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, Hervé Falciani (Swissleaks), Antoine Deltour (Luxleaks), and Rui Pinto (Football Leaks). In 2001, he founded Sherpa, an association with the purpose of "defending victims of crimes committed by economic operators." He serves as the Chair of the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) and was the Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights from 1995 to 2000. William is the author of several publications on international justice and human rights, including "Petit manuel de désobéissance citoyenne" (Short Manual on Citizens’ Disobedience) published in 2014.


Simon Bowers

Simon serves as Investigations Editor at Finance Uncovered, aiding investigative journalists in challenging environments. From 2017 to 2020, he was the European coordinator and senior reporter for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Both as an ICIJ reporter and, previously, as a collaborator while working for The Guardian, where he was employed for 19 years, he contributed to ICIJ projects including FinCEN Files, Paradise Papers, Panama Papers and Lux Leaks.


Alessandro Butticé

Alessandro is a former General of the Guardia di Finanza and Head of Unit at the European Commission. He designed the OLAF's Anti-Fraud Communicators Network (OAFCN) and, on its behalf, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), based on the principles of mutual respect between journalists and authorities. He is currently working as a journalist for several media outlets.


Stefano Castellani

Stefano is a former member of the Anti-Mafia Directorate in Turin, who has over two decades of experience as a public prosecutor specializing in organized crimes, mafia-type offenses, as well as economic crimes including money laundering. Throughout his career, he has gained broad experience in judicial cooperation in criminal matters. As of 2021, he has been appointed as a European Delegated Prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) for the court of Turin.


Tom Divine

Since 1979 Tom Devine has been the Government Accountability Project’s legal director, where he has assisted over 8,000 whistleblowers. He also has been on the front lines for the passage and oversight of 37 whistleblower laws, including nearly all U.S. federal laws and internationally from Serbia to the UN and World Bank, most recently the EU Whistleblower Directive and Ukraine. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the DC Law School. He appears regularly as a media expert, has authored numerous books and articles on law journals, and co-founded Whistleblowing International Network.


Veronica Dragalin

Veronica is the Chief of the Anti-corruption Prosecution Office for the Republic of Moldova. Educated in the United States, she received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Beginning on August 1, 2022, Veronica commenced her current mandate as the Chief of the Anti-corruption Prosecution Office. She is responsible for investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption cases and was awarded the 2023 Robert Tucker Prize for Prosecutorial Excellence. Prior to this, Veronica was a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, California, where she specialized in corruption cases. Before becoming a prosecutor, she served as an associate at a U.S. law firm, working on international criminal investigations that spanned Europe, Asia, and South America.

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Samantha Feinstein

Samantha is a Staff Attorney and Director of the International Program at the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting whistleblowers and promoting government and corporate accountability. With over 22 years of experience, she is a leading expert in whistleblower law, anticorruption, human rights, and good governance. Samantha is also is also Vice Chair of the Board of the UN Convention Against Corruption Coalition.


Mary Inman

Mary is a partner in the San Francisco office of Whistleblower Partners LLP and a veteran whistleblower lawyer, having worked exclusively representing whistleblowers for the past 26 years under the increasing array of U.S. and international whistleblower reward programs. Mary has helped her clients, including Theranos whistleblower Tyler Shultz and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, forge partnerships with the various government agencies that leverage whistleblower information to expose corporate frauds.  Mary is an internationally recognized expert on the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. whistleblower reward programs and a regular commentator on all things whistleblower for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, FT, Fortune and Time.


Mihail Ivanov

Since September 2023, Mihail has served as the Liaison Prosecutor for Moldova at Eurojust. In November 2010, he was appointed as a prosecutor in the Moldovan Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, where he focused on cases of tax evasion, money laundering, and corruption. His experience also includes serving as a military prosecutor in the Chisinau Military Prosecutor’s Office.


Zachary Kopplin

Zack is an investigator at the Government Accountability Project. He has worked as a freelance investigative reporter and his investigations have included revealing police and judicial misconduct, uncovering the U.S. State Department covering up abuse of guest workers, and exposing corrupt politicians. He’s won several awards, including the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. He has been profiled by national news outlets and appeared on news shows (e.g., MSNBC and HBO).

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Christos D. Naintos

Christos is a Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance, working as a Justice Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Greece to the European Union in Brussels. He holds degrees in law and political science, master’s degrees in criminal law and European Union law, and a PhD. He has worked as an Assistant Prosecutor of the Prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Thessaloniki against Corruption Crimes and as an Assistant Prosecutor of the Hellenic Prosecutor against Economic Crimes. He is the author of several books and articles. He has given lectures at the National School of Judges, Police Academies, and the Universities of Thessaloniki and Thrace.


Vasileios Petropoulos

Vasileios (BA University of Athens; PhD University of Munich, PhD University of Zurich) received his Post-Doc (Habilitation) from the University of Munich in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedure, European and international criminal law and financial criminal law (2010). He serves as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Law and Procedure at the University of Athens. He also served as an academic at the CEGLA Institute of the Buchmann Faculty of Law of the University of Tel Aviv, a visiting lecturer at the University Neapolis Pafos, and an academic tutor at the Hellenic Open University.


Ashu Sharma

Ash is Group Investigations Manager with Anglo American, a global mining company, leading a hub responsible for complex corporate investigations. Prior to this, he worked at HSBC in the internal fraud risk area, he also coordinated the global investigations triggered by the Panama Papers and 1MDB. Ash worked as a Senior Investigator with the UK Serious Fraud Office, as well as in other UK government departments where he investigated electoral and charity financial and regulatory misconduct concerns. He is also the Executive Head of Advisory for the Association of Corporate Investigators. Ash is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Financial Crime Specialist, and Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator.


Sören Schomburg

Sören is a Partner at Knauer& specialized in white-collar and transnational crime. He primarily defends clients in extradition matters both at the national level and before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Sören is the author of numerous specialist publications focused on economic crime. He studied law in Berlin and London and worked in a law firm in Tokyo during his clerkship.


Glenn Sorrentino

Glenn is the Executive Director of Science & Design, Inc., a non-profit product development organization in the US that builds free and open-source software, including Hush Line, a tip line-as-a-service platform for organizations and individuals. He serves on the Board of Advisors to Distributed Denial of Secrets, a non-profit that archives and publishes hacked and leaked data in the public interest. Glenn is a product designer and former military whistleblower.

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Amira Szönyi

Comparative lawyer by training, she is a former European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigator responsible for cases involving subsidy fraud, corruption, and irregularities concerning EU funds spent in EU Member States or third countries. Currently, she serves as the Head of Unit OLAF A3, overseeing administrative investigations concerning the European Structural and Investment Funds, Agricultural Funds, and Recovery and Resilience Facility Fund in seven Member States.


Franz Wild

Franz led the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Enablers team for three years, garnering front-page coverage in major publications like the New York Times. Prior to this, he worked 13 years as a Bloomberg reporter covering diverse topics from politics to economics and mining across Africa and London. His investigative prowess uncovered grand corruption, fraud, and insider trading involving major corporations, hedge funds, and notable billionaires, earning him awards such as the British Journalism Awards and Gerald Loeb Award finalist. His reporting led to criminal investigations in the UK, US, and elsewhere.


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