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Appleby prepares clients for disclosure of stolen documents

Thursday, 26 October, 2017

Offshore law firm Appleby has issued a statement warning clients that their private files may have been compromised by a successful hacking attack on the firm last year.

The firm has recently been contacted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the organisation that published documents leaked from Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca last year. ICIJ claims to have seen some of Appleby’s files and is seeking further information about their implications.

Appleby was aware of the attack when it occurred, and acknowledges that some its data was compromised. However, it says, it reviewed its cybersecurity procedures in accordance with advice from a leading IT forensics team.

Its statement was evidently issued with the aim of pre-empting the inevitable publicity from ICIJ’s expected ‘revelations’. The documents obtained by ICIJ do not, it says, indicate any wrongdoing by itself or its clients.

‘We would be happy to cooperate fully with any legitimate and authorised investigation of the allegations by the appropriate and relevant authorities’, it said. ‘We do not tolerate illegal behaviour. It is true that we are not infallible. Where we find that mistakes have happened we act quickly to put things right and we make the necessary notifications to the relevant authorities.’

But clients will be deeply concerned that their private affairs may be released into the public domain.
‘We are disappointed that the media may choose to use information which could have emanated from material obtained illegally and that this may result in exposing innocent parties to data protection breaches’, said Appleby.

  • At the time of writing, ICIJ and its media partners have not released any statement on the matter. But early press reports suggest the main allegations made by ICIJ relate to imports of aircraft into the EU through the Isle of Man to avoid VAT.

Sources