If the data were to be publicly available, a world-wide army of data-boffins would trawl through it. Enormous tax avoidance would be unearthed. It would shed light on on the key perpetrators of multinational tax avoidance such as large law firms and the Big Four global accounting firms: EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG. Yet these four players, perhaps the most powerful institutions in the world, remain protected from serious scrutiny.
A simple search of the ICIJ’s public interface shows PwC is connected to just six offshore entities in the database, and KPMG 34, whereas an Edward B Turner – to select just one unknown minnow – is connected to 70 entities.