The massive data leak of tax-haven records earlier this month made headlines around the world, revealing the offshore financial secrets of presidents and prime ministers, financiers and fraudsters. In its wake, governments have pledged investigations into tax cheats and crackdowns on offshore tax evasion.

But the global saga began with just one journalist, an Irishman working in Australia named Gerard Ryle. One day, a confidential source told him he would receive a special package. When it arrived, Ryle was stunned by its contents.

Ryle went on to become the head of the Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, through which he shared the information he obtained with a worldwide syndicate of media outlets, including CBC News.

Watch the video above to see his story.