This week I want to introduce a real open source research treasure trove that I found a while ago – OCCRP Aleph.
Aleph is a repository of data gathered from public sources, created and maintained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
Created initially by investigative journalists for investigative journalists, OCCRP Aleph contains a massive amount of information, from publicly available FTP server files, to court records, newspapers, company registries and more.
The project’s primary goal is to equip investigative journalists with tools that help them with “following the money”, but also zero in on corruption in politics and the corporate world.
OCCRP have their own Youtube channel, which apart from videos from their investigative efforts contains a trailer for Aleph:
The information is organised into categories that include: Datasets, Types, Countries, Languages, E-Mails, Phone numbers, Names, Addresses and File types.
The data is further grouped into sub-categories that include anything from specific countries, to topics, like news, land registries, sanctions, court documents and so on.
Examples of some of my favourite sources and the ones I have found most useful so far include:
- Russian companies (OGRN, 2016) – over 10m records on individuals and businesses operating in Russia.
- UK People with Significant Control – persons with significant control (PSC) are those who own or control a company – the ‘beneficial owners’. Over 7.5m records here.
- UK Disqualified Directors – persons disqualified from becoming company directors in Britain.
- Ukraine Companies Beneficial Ownership – details of every registered company, shareholder and sole trader in Ukraine.
- US Federal Courts Archive – publicly available court records, sourced from PACER.
- Venezuela Procurement Registration Registry – useful when investigating sanctioned entities linked to the communist regime in Venezuela.
- Trial and Terror (2020) – database or persons identified as terrorists by the US authorities.
- EveryPolitician – information on serving politicians from all around the world.
Warning: Deep diving into the OCCRP datasets could get you sucked in for hours.
If using Maltego, note that the tool has recently provided integration with the Aleph data. The Aleph Transforms in Maltego walkthrough can be found here.
Tutorials for using Aleph, including technical instructions for developers and operators can be accessed here.
This is it. Happy research!