Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Czech" ...

  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Hidden Wealth of Azerbaijan President

    The President of oil-rich Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has been compared to a Mafia crime boss in US diplomatic cables, and man analysts refer to him as a dictator. OCCRP looked deeper than those labels and found that the Aliyev family has systematically grabbed shares of the most profitable businesses in the country. Investigative reports by OCCRP and Radio Free Europe have revealed and more importantly proven for the first time that the ruling family has secret ownership stakes through offshore companies in the country’s largest businesses, including banks, construction companies, gold mines and phone companies. The government Aliyev runs gave these shares. The family also has secretly amassed high-end property in places like the Czech Republic. The Azeri government responded to the revelations first with silence and now claims that OCCRP is an agent of the rival Armenian government. Aliyev’s administration also failed to investigate the harassment and blackmail of OCCRP and RFE journalist Khadija Ismayilova earlier this year. While Azerbaijan has worked at improving its image worldwide, OCCRP’s reporting makes clear that a petty dictatorship remains in control.
  • Hidden Wealth of Azerbaijan President

    The President of oil-rich Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has been compared to a Mafia crime boss in US diplomatic cables, and man analysts refer to him as a dictator. OCCRP looked deeper than those labels and found that the Aliyev family has systematically grabbed shares of the most profitable businesses in the country. Investigative reports by OCCRP and Radio Free Europe have revealed and more importantly proven for the first time that the ruling family has secret ownership stakes through offshore companies in the country’s largest businesses, including banks, construction companies, gold mines and phone companies. The government Aliyev runs gave these shares. The family also has secretly amassed high-end property in places like the Czech Republic. The Azeri government responded to the revelations first with silence and now claims that OCCRP is an agent of the rival Armenian government. Aliyev’s administration also failed to investigate the harassment and blackmail of OCCRP and RFE journalist Khadija Ismayilova earlier this year. While Azerbaijan has worked at improving its image worldwide, OCCRP’s reporting makes clear that a petty dictatorship remains in control.
  • Fields of Terror-The New Slave Trade in the Heart of Europe

    People from poor countries are becoming modern day slaves as they are lured in on false pretenses and then being held captive. They were promised “good salaries, accommodations, and food”, but instead were beaten and threatened if they asked for these items. These people were becoming slaves and provided many local restaurants with fresh foods from the surrounding fields. Even though this was all happening, many people were continuing to get away with having these modern day slaves and no one was stopping them.
  • Gripen- The Secret Deals

    SVT investigated the selling of the Swedish fighter plane, the Gripen to the Czech government. In result the news organization uncovered bribery of politicians, the Austrian Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, a former Canadian government minister and a Czech weapons dealer. This prompted further investigation into two other Gripen deals between Hungary and South Africa.
  • Of Human Bondage

    NBC News Dateline investigates a "startling and disturbing new criminal trend: the buying and selling of women for sexual slavery in developed countries like the United States." The story "follows the trail of women from rural Ukraine to the Czech Republic and finally to brothels in the United States," and identifies "entire communities and villages where brothels were stocked with enslaved girls as young as 14 years old." The story "profiles a handful of the estimated 2 million women who are illegally trafficked out of their home countries ..." "The report visits bogus employment offices and documents exactly how recruiters entice young, educated women with false promises of lucrative jobs abroad."
  • The Colonel's Wife

    "In the summer of 1991, the lifeless body of Viparat Marecek was found floating face down in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C. Immediately, Viparat's husband, legendary Green Beret Colonel George Marecek, became the chief suspect. With no physical evidence linking Marecek to the crime, it took the state 9 years and 3 trials to successfully convict the war hero of killing his beautiful Thai wife." The reporters conducted an investigation into the colonel's conviction, uncovering a "botched autopsy and crime scene investigation, allegations of espionage and sexual misconduct and witness intimidation by one of the state's star witnesses, allegations of police misconduct and witness intimidation by the lead detective on the case, and the signed confession by a known serial killer that is strikingly similar to the brutal death of Viparat Marecek."
  • Mustard Gas Mystery

    Sirens on the chemical detection units began a chorus of mournful wails "whoop-whoop-whoop." With clumsy measured strides inside rubber protective suits, three Czechoslovak chemical warfare experts approached a dark stain in the sand of the Saudi desert. The Czechs called the substance Yperite, commonly known as mustard gas, which causes blindness, skin blisters, inflammation of the nose and throat and eventually a painful choking death. Is the United States responsible for the spill?
  • Broken Promises

    KARE-TV profiles Czech nationals lured to America by unscrupulous companies with the false promise of high-paying jobs. They pay a job broker who dispatch them to K-Mart stores. They are paid half of what they've been promised -- a check that amounts to half the minimum wage.
  • Jet-fighter sales to Eastern Europe

    The Post-Dispatch breaks international news with exclusive documents obtained by sources in the American defense establishment and foreign governments. The documents showed that U.S. military officials were violating longstanding policy of neutrality in commerical transactions by trying to influence the multibillion Czech decision on which planes to buy, seeking in various ways to tip the balance toward one of the U.S. competitors.