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Observatory of Financial Crime

Team: [user id=jorge], Cristian Aguirre, Roberto Santamaría, [user id=renato]

Ecuador's Observatory of Financial Crime (OFC) is a network of organizations focused on money laundering, tax evasion, and credit fraud. Our goal is to create and visualize databases around these critical issues in order to generate citizen science and policy reform by combining state-of-the-art practices in data ethnography and data analysis. The OFC is an interactive digital platform for data sharing and collaborative theorizing that makes possible a democratized approach to applied policy research by offering the means for users to build visual narratives around pressing financial issues. The platform offers open data on money laundering lawsuits, offshore tax crimes, fiscal avoidance in the form of double taxation, and illegal credit transactions at various scales. It also provides ethnographic case studies of financial pyramids in the country, paying particular attention to recent uses of electronic money. The information is generated by different institutions participating in the OFC, including the Ecuadorian National Police, the Judiciary Council, financial regulators and experts, bank customer associations, NGOs, and universities. These agencies and organizations are also members of the Observatory's Interinstitutional Council that meets regularly to validate and analyze the data. The OFC makes financial crime databases operational for computational prediction, visualization, and interaction with other datasets. One example of this work is the OFC’s team current mapping of real estate prices and money laundering in Manta. This initiative to strength data quality and interoperability is particularly relevant in Ecuador due to the lack of accountability and transparency in banking management, which has seldom been subjected to citizen oversight and democratic controls.