A searchable database of hundreds of thousands of offshore firms was made public earlier this month by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The ICIJ emphasised that the database was not a “data dump” and will only display “basic corporate information”.
Davies said: “What is surprising is how little data has actually been released and in a small trawl around the database it is evident that the data is incomplete and in places incorrect.
“The implication of this release is that information is publicly available, which may mean media scrutiny and also lead to questions from HM Revenue & Customs authorities where none are justified.
"At worst, the indiscriminate availability of the data to the world at large may put property and persons at risk."
“There is a disclaimer on the ICIJ website saying there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts and that wrong doing is not implied, but there will be expensive enquiries from HMRC where the taxpayer may have the burden to prove that nothing has been done wrong,” he said.
“Expecto” some privacy
Harry Potter actress Emma Watson was named earlier this week as a beneficiary of a British Virgin Islands company, having used the offshore structure to purchase a property in London.
Watson’s spokesperson said: “Emma (like many high high profile individuals) set up an offshore company for the sole purpose of protecting her anonymity and safety.
“UK companies are required to publicly publish details of their shareholders and therefore do not give her the necessary anonymity required to protect her personal safety, which has been jeopardised in the past owing to such information being publicly available.
“Offshore companies do not publish these shareholder details. Emma receives absolutely no tax or monetary advbantages from this offshore company whatsoever – only privacy.”
Put persons and property at risk
Davies continued: “At worst, the indiscriminate availability of the data to the world at large may put property and persons at risk. In some countries if you are transparently super wealthy you can make yourself and your family political targets, as well as targets for corrupt officials and organised crime.
“There is also the commercial dimension. In business, knowing a rival’s financial situation may give a competitive advantage, for example if you know how much borrowing your rival has, and many will have wanted to keep their financial affairs secret for this reason.
“A small minority of criminals may have used offshore structures to hide their money from the law, but most of the law abiding customers using offshore structures are doing so for other reasons,” Davies concluded.