© Stephanie Füssenich/KiWi
© Stephanie Füssenich/KiWi

:: Frederik Obermaier ::


is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and bestselling book author living in Munich (Germany). He co-founded paper trail media.


Obermaier's work focuses largely on tax-havens, corruption, extremism and intelligence services worldwide. He has taken part in numerous award-winning investigations, among others by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, the Forbidden-Stories-project.


In 2019, Obermaier was part of an investigative team which revealed the existence of a video showing the head of Austria's far-right party FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, promising government contracts to a women claiming to be a Russian millionaire. The reporting led to the resignation of Austria's vice chancellor. 


Together with his colleague Bastian Obermayer (with whom he is not related) Frederik Obermaier initiated and coordinated the "Panama Papers"-revelations after an anonymous source provided 2,6 terabytes of internal data from the dubious Panamanian lawfirm Mossack Fonseca to them. Obermaier co-authored an international bestseller about the project.


"The biggest leak in the history of data journalism" (Edward Snowden)


"With precision and purpose, The Panama Papers is what „Follow the Money” means." (Bob Woodward)


"... a tale of fearless and careful reporting... How to follow the money - the lesson of the Watergate investigation a generation ago - has been given a reboot for the age of globalisation." (Financial Times)


Obermaier was part already of the international team of journalists, who revealed the "Offshore-Leaks", "Luxemburg-Leaks", "Swiss-Leaks", the "China Cables" and the "Pegasus-Project". After the Panama Papers, he and his colleague Bastian Obermayer also received the "Paradise Papers"-documents, which were published in November 2017.


"The Paradise Papers make clear that we need, in the United States and throughout the world, a tax system which is fair, progressive and transparent." (Bernie Sanders)


"Absolutely breathtaking and so important." (Joseph Stiglitz, former Worldbank-chief-economist)


"What the Paradise Papers show is how dishonesty is being promoted on a mass scale and how corruption is being institutionalized." (David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer prize-winning Trump-biographer)


In February 2022, Obermaier co-coordinated the "Suisse Secrets" - a revelation about the dubious clients of Credit Suisse.


Obermaier has received numerous honors for his work, among others the CNN-Award, the Otto-Brenner-Preis, the renowned Wächterpreis, the Journalistenpreis Informatik, the Helmut-Schmidt-Journalistenpreis and together with his colleagues the Scripps Howard Awards, the George Polk Award for Business Reporting, the Barlett&Steele-Award as well as the Investigative Reporters and Editors-Award (IRE-Award). 


For the Panama-Papers-revelations he was together with Bastian Obermayer and Vanessa Wormer elected Germany's "journalist of the year 2016". As part of the Panama-Papers-team he won the Pulitzer Prize 2017 in the category "Explanatory Reporting". He was also part of the FinCENfiles-team, which was named Pulitzer Prize-finalist in June 2021. 


In 2017, Obermaier was awarded the Murrey Marder-Fellowship in Watchdog Journalism at Nieman-Foundation at Harvard University. In 2019 Obermaier was "journalist in residence" at Hong Kong Baptist University.


In 2020, Obermaier was a member of the jury of Reporter Without Borders‘ Press Freedom Awards.


Frederik Obermaier is co-founder of the Anti-Corruption Data Collective, co-director of paper trail media GmbH and board member of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism. He is member of Netzwerk Recherche, of the Forbidden Stories-Network and of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists