The Paradise Papers have yet again catapulted the off-shore tax dealings of the rich, famous and greedy into the spotlight.
We still don’t know how the documents were leaked, and we probably never will. In fact, the only people who do are the journalists at
Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper who first received the documents from a mystery source.
At first glance you immediately assume it was an inside job, however with all the reports of state sponsored Ransomware attacks and countries fiddling
with the Brexit & US Election votes you can never be quite sure.
One thing for certain is, the files, all 13.4 million of them were leaked, firstly to the Süddeutsche Zeitung and then on to the ICIJ and 95 other media
outlets, including the Guardian here in Blighty. The amount of data this amounted to was 1.4TB, somewhat less than the Panama Papers that were leaked
in 2016 (2.6TB), but still a significant amount nonetheless.
As reported by the ICIJ the Paradise Papers consisted of…
‘Nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from nearly 50 years at Appleby, a leading offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond’.
In the comment above the ICIJ only reference Unstructured data but post 2004 when the digital age really exploded much of the relevant data would have
also been held in a more structured format.
When you consider both the amount and different types of data involved, it becomes apparent that sifting through this data and making sense of it would
be too difficult to do without the aid of technology.
Upon the release of the Panama Papers a year earlier, the Süddeutsche Zeitung were faced with the same problem.
How do you make sense of such a large amount of unstructured and structured data in various formats, and not only make sense of it but do so quickly?
When faced with this issue, the Süddeutsche Zeitung turned to ITB Partner NUIX, which is a software solution that makes it easy to search through multiple
structured and unstructured datasets and relate the lists to people and companies of interest.
As well as being used by other Investigative Authorities, NUIX is widely used by Financial and other corporate organisations to help them piece together
cases and other reports.
We also envisage that NUIX’s eDiscovery capabilities will be widely used by companies post May 2018 in our GDPR laden world when addressing Article 17
or ‘The Right to Erasure (right to be forgotten).
Whilst the Paradise Papers so far haven’t uncovered anything illegal, it has uncovered an ingrained institutional disregard of the Tax laws of our country
at a time when the use of Foodbanks is at an all-time high, which is unethical to say the least and should be enough to make your blood boil. We can
only hope that with the help of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the ICIJ, the 95 other media partners and NUIX, these loop holes can be closed for good.