When is a big financial story an unsurprising financial story? When it turns out that people from corrupt and repressive countries are sneaking their money offshore to keep it hidden.panama papers icij.jpg

The world today is tearing into a huge leak of Panamanian legal documents unearthed by a German newspaper and shared via the International Consortium of

What does the Supreme Court’s decision this week about the Privileges and Immunities Clause mean to investigators?

That they need to continue having a good national network to help one another.

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The Court this week upheld unanimously a Virginia law that grants the right to see documents under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

One of the biggest misconceptions about due diligence is that it is a one-way street. People assume that either they are scrutinized or doing the scrutinizing, but never the twain shall meet. But this shouldn’t always be the case. In some instances, the person under the microscope also has a responsibility to make sure that they subject the other party to thorough due diligence.
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A good investigation begins with the information the client has provided, but it certainly does not end there. In cases where an investigation fails to yield any viable results, among the first steps is to challenge the information given. After all, as we’ve said in our article for InsideCounsel,”5 Tips When Searching for Assets,” you don’t know what you don’t know.

For a person search, this might mean questioning the name provided. There are enough variations in names to allow for numerous other search terms that might be more fruitful.
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Clients are often surprised to learn how much corporate information is on the public record. Of course, public companies are forced to disclose a lot more data than private ones, but it’s still possible to learn about private companies using smart and thorough public records searches. And there’s more to learn than just what assets a company holds.
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What does it really mean when an investigator says that they are going to do a background search on a person and track down all the relevant documents “on the public record”? Well, let’s start with what it doesn’t mean: bank documents and cell phone records are not public record. Any investigator who tells you he can track these down for you is ostensibly promising to break more than a couple of laws to get you that information. In addition, given that he’s acting as your agent, odds are it could get you in a heap of trouble as well.

So what can you expect instead? Below is a list of the various public documents that you should expect from your investigator when investigating a person. Future blog posts will detail similar lists for background research on companies and for asset searches.
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