Stephen E. Arnold: Big Data Analytics Invaluable in Tax Fraud Investigation

Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Big Data Analytics Proves Invaluable In Tax Fraud Investigation

Posted: 29 Aug 2013 03:57 PM PDT

The article on titled Big Data Journalism Exposes Offshore Tax Dodgers reports on the findings of Offshore Leaks, the result of the work of an international group of journalists. The fascinating story of offshore tax evasion by over 100,000 owners and founders of companies and trusts begins in Australia with a hard drive containing 260 GB of corporate files and unfiltered (and unorganized) personal emails. The article explains,

“Processing and publishing the leaked data brought to the US from Australia took over 18 months to bring to fruition, and is still continuing. As the largest ever big data project tackled by journalists, the investigation faced technical problems and errors from the start, took blind alleys, and encountered problems in collaboration, as well as pioneering effective new methods…

The first wave of reporting of Offshore Leaks stories began in the UK’s Guardian in November 2012, followed by a global relaunch in April 2013.

The G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland this year will address the issue raised by the stories. David Cameron even requested that offshore company records be published. It was not until Australian company Nuix offered the journalists its text retrieval software that the unstructured data began to give relevant tips. Without such analytics software the project may have gone nowhere.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 03, 2013

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