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Financial Crime Stories Shine in 2014 Latin American IJ Awards

afiche-premio-2014Exposés of questionable financial transactions in Argentina, Trinidad, and Mexico led the 2014 Latin American Investigative Journalism Awards, announced over the weekend in Mexico City.

Judging by the strength and breadth of the 14 finalists, investigative journalism is alive and well across Latin America.

First prize went to “El señor de los hoteles y el socio de la Presidenta” (“The Lord of the Hotels and the President’s Partner”) by Hugo Alconada and Mariela Arias of Argentina’s La Nación. The investigation revealed a complex network of multi-million-dollar payments for real estate benefiting the presidential family by a major public works contractor in Patagonia.

Second place was given to “Jack Warner and FIFA Business” by Camini Marajh in the Trinidad Express of Trinidad and Tobago. Maraih’s stories reported on the transfer of millions of dollars from Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation bank accounts to private companies controlled by Warner, a former FIFA vice-president.

Third place went to “La mafia financiera de los Legionarios de Cristo” (“The Financial Mafia of the Legionaries of Christ”) by José Raúl Olmos Castillo of Mexico’s Emeequis. The story documented how a powerful religious group diverted millions of dollars in charitable donations through a network of companies.


A happy Hugo Alconada of Argentina’s La Nación accepts his prize. Credit: IPYS

The awards were presented at the annual Latin American Investigative Journalism Conference (#COLPIN2014), co-sponsored by the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) and Transparency International.

On the jury were Gerardo Reyes of Univision (United States); Gustavo Gorriti, of IDL-Reporteros (Peru); Mike Reid of The Economist (United Kingdom); veteran journalist Ewald Scharfenberg (Venezuela); and Marcelo Beraba of O Estado de S.Paulo (Brazil).

In all, 196 works were submitted to the awards in print, television, and the Internet. Of those, 31 were shortlisted. In addition to the three prize winners, the jury awarded 11 honorable mentions:  


Clarín: “Caso Báez: la conexión internacional de la ruta del dinero” (“The Baez Case: The International Connection of the Money Trail”), by K. Lucia Salinas, Nicolás Pizzi, María Eugenia Duffaurd, Lucio Fernández Moores, Nicolás Wiñazki and Daniel Santoro, del diario.


O Estado de S.Paulo: “Sangre política, las muertes por disputa del poder en la era democrática en el Brasil” (“Blood Politics: Deaths from Power Conflicts in Brazil’s Democratic Era”, by Leonencio Nossa.

Gazeta do Povo: “Crímenes sin Castigo” (“Crimes without Punishment”), by Rogerio Waldrigues Galindo, Bruna Maestri Walter, Rosana Félix and José Marcos Lopes.

Folha de São Paulo: “El caso Lula: los viajes patrocinados por grandes empresas” (“The Lula Case: Trips Sponsored by Major Companies”), by Fernando Mello, Flavia Foreque, Fernanda Odilla, del diario Folha .


Verdad Abierta: “Tres agroindustrias de los Llanos compraron tierras con líos y violencia” (“Three Agribusinesses of the Plains Bought Land with Trouble and Violence”), by María Teresa Ronderos, Óscar Parra, Ivonne Rodríguez and Felipe Quintero.

Semana: “La decana del mal” (“The Dean of Evil”), by Luz María Sierra and Tadeo Martínez.


CIPER: El millonario negocio del agua (The Million-Dollar Water Business), by Alberto Arellano.


El Comercio: Las operaciones fraudulentas del dueño del banco Territorial” (“Fraudulent Operations of the Territorial Bank Owner”), by Arturo Torres.


El Faro:Las millonarias ganancias del ex presidente Antonio Saca y su mansión en el volcán” (“The Million-Dollar Earnings of Former President Antonio Saca and his Mansion on the Volcano”), by Gabriel Labrador.


Confidencial:El caso Tectasa” (“The Tectasa Case”), by Octavio Enríquez.


Perú21: Compras inmobiliarias de pariente político del ex presidente peruano Alejandro Toledo revelan presunta operación de lavado de activos (“Real estate purchases by a relative-in-law of former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo reveal alleged money laundering operation“), by Oscar Libón.

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