Hidden, Obscure Connections
There are several ways to find hidden or obscure information about a company. For starters, one can use aleph.occrp.org, to search for information about the company. This database includes a variety of information sources, including registries leaked from tax havens and information from leaked documents from Offshore Leaks and similar sources. If you search a company or its owner’s name, the aforementioned sources are a great way to find if they have a hidden shell company in a tax haven. But this database has several other kinds of useful information as well that make it work checking. ICIJ.org is also a great website that uses leaked financial documents and corporate registries (for companies that were previously hidden) to map out connections between one company and various other entities like people, stock, addresses, other companies etc. See the chart below from ICIJ.
Relationshipscience.com is a good resource for identifying people that are connected to an organization in one way or another. The website wants you to pay for a subscription, but there is a lot of useful information that you can get for free. See the search below for Exxon Mobil (admittedly, this is a big corporation so this search might be more fruitful than others) that shows the different kinds of connections that the website can find.
Littlesis.org is a good resource for finding connections of wealthy or powerful people. The information is populated by users but they must provide a source for any connection identified. This resource will find various kinds of relationships and presents them in a visual format that is easy to understand.
See the link analysis map below that was created by LittleSis and maps out how certain energy companies influence think tanks.
Map the Power is an in-depth guide produced by LittleSis that explains how to do simple and advanced research to find how individuals, corporations, and other organizations have hidden connections.
Local News From Far Away
Local news stories, from wherever the company operates, is a great source of obscure information that likely will not be at the top of your search results when you google the company’s name.
IBM’s Watson News Explorer is a great source for finding any news affiliated with a company, even smaller companies.
To find these stories, first look up the company’s Annual Statement, which will list its subsidiaries and where they are located.
A separate post explains how to find and read a company’s Annual Statement.
Next, choose the location for one of the subsidiaries that you want to research and then use isearchfrom.com to make your google searches appear to come from that location. You can also use marketscreener.com to find foreign language news about the company. Just search for the company’s name and when you go to the website’s page that is specifically for the company, scroll down and there is a section titled “News in Other Languages”. This is a good time to get the Google Translate browser extension so it can translate the page for you.
While you are using Market Screener, it is also a great tool for getting an initial impression about a company because the website will give you a general summary about the company, list news stories, and list analyst recommendations regarding how well the company is doing.
Finally, you can get a feel for how the public views the company and if there are any rumors (which might turn out to be well-founded) by looking up the most common searches regarding the company in Google or Twitter. The website keywordtool.io will list the most common searches or autofill phrases associated with any term, such as a company name. The website offers this service for different search engines and social media, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is enough to just search Google and Twitter.
Okay that’s it, good luck!