The Investigation Software Company
Fight against Financial Corruption in Italy
Watson (now Link Explorer) and Watson Pro (now Link Designer) are key intelligence analysis tools currently being used in the fight to combat corruption in Italy. For some years many major companies have been financing political parties and their campaigns in the hope of winning lucrative government contracts for public services. This corporate funding is highly illegal and in many cases the funds have disappeared overseas and returned into private bank accounts in Italy through complex transactions.
To investigate and combat this extensive financial corruption through exposure and conviction a group of judges formed the ‘Mani Pulite’ or ‘Clean Hands’ initiative. Headed by Judge Francesco Saverio Borrelli at the Court of Milan (Procura di Milano) the group faced an overwhelming task of demonstrating movement of funds and managing and analyzing all the financial data received from national and international banks, financial institutions and Police Forces.
At this stage, Judge Borrelli turned for help in managing the mountains of digital data and paper documents to Giorgio Laganà and to the company Irwin and Bates S.r.l., Milano, specialist consultants in fraud and advisors to the Court. The aim was, and still is, to demonstrate movement of funds and discover the people involved in any suspicious transactions.
Recognizing the need for a computer-based solution to this daunting problem of sorting, analyzing and cross referencing huge volumes of material, Giorgio Laganà teamed up with IT specialists Nuove Tecnologie to form Irwin New Tech, a joint venture tasked primarily to develop a solution for Mani Pulite.
Initially, Irwin New Tech developed a database model to represent all involved entities e.g. people, companies, transactions, accounts, transactions, banks/institutions, interviews and the relationship amongst them all. All documents are scanned and digitally archived on CD-ROMs for easy retrieval. The database is a powerful way of gathering data and representing simple links, but simple queries were not enough to deal with the complicated web of relationships involved in order to track a complete and highly complex transactional path.
The next step was to introduce the Xanalys Watson facility, which enables powerful data querying and visualization techniques to be applied to the volume data, and Watson Pro, a configuration tool that integrates Watson with existing information sources. Both are part of the Xanalys Intelligence suite of integrated software for investigation management and intelligence analysis.
The Mani Pulite database holds information on 52,000 transactions, details of over 10,000 people, 7,000 companies and 19,000 bank accounts. Irwin New Tech tackled the challenge of linking people and companies shown on analysis charts directly and immediately to scanned documents held on CD-ROMs using Watson Pro.
Finally, a set of pre-defined queries were incorporated using the Watson Pro facility and under the guidance of the Court to assist investigators in following inquiry paths originating from any chosen entity. The Mani Pulite fraud analysis system has been in operation since 1997 and continues to provide valuable intelligence supporting the continued fight against serious fraud in Italy.
For further information, see Giorgio Laganà’s book, written in Italian, about the Mani Pulite initiative.