Mining giant Glencore has failed to stop the Australian Tax Office giving up documents relating to the company's offshore arrangements.
The High Court ruled on Wednesday that Glencore could not claim legal professional privilege over documents published as part of the Paradise Papers.
The massive data leak detailed offshore interests and tax affairs of world leaders and multinational companies, including the movement of billions of dollars through Bermuda by the Australian arm of Glencore.
In its ruling, the court found privilege was a protection against compelling documents to be disclosed, rather than a way to get back information already in investigators' hands.
The judgment said Glencore's case sought to transform the nature of the privilege from an immunity into an ill-defined cause of action which could be used against anyone with documents in the public domain.
Glencore had requested the Australian Tax Office return the documents because they were stolen from Bermuda-based law firm Appleby.
ATO second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said the decision was a win for the Australian community which expects large companies to pay their fair share of tax.
"This ruling ensures that the ATO will continue to be able to use information in its possession and can make decisions based on all of the available facts," he said.
"An offshore law firm is not a cloak of invisibility to hide offshore arrangements."
Australian Associated Press