Leading offshore law firm confirms hack

The Bermuda-based firm says some of its data were “compromised” and that it is “not infallible”

Leading offshore law firm confirms hack
Appleby, one of the largest offshore law firms in the world, has confirmed it was the victim of a hack in 2016.

“We are committed to protecting our clients’ data and we have reviewed our cyber security and data access arrangements following a data security incident last year which involved some of our data being compromised. These arrangements were reviewed and tested by a leading IT Forensics team and we are confident that our data integrity is secure,” the firm said in a statement.

The confirmation came after the firm was queried by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations that are partners of the ICIJ. The query was about alleged wrongdoing by Appleby and its clients.

The hack comes about 18 months after the ICIJ published the collection of nearly 12 million documents from offshore firm Mossack Fonseca, more infamously known as “The Panama Papers.”

Appleby said:
“We take any allegation of wrongdoing, implicit or otherwise, extremely seriously. Appleby operates in highly regulated jurisdictions and like all professional organisations in our regions, we are subject to frequent regulatory checks and we are committed to achieving the high standards set by our regulators. We are also committed to the highest standards of client service and confidentiality. It is what we stand for. This commitment is unequivocal.

“Appleby has thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegations and we are satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients. We refute any allegations which may suggest otherwise and we would be happy to cooperate fully with any legitimate and authorised investigation of the allegations by the appropriate and relevant authorities.

“We are an offshore law firm who advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. 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.”

The firm said that it is disappointed that the media may choose to use information from material that may have been obtained illegally. If the ICIJ releases the information they have, which the group has reportedly said they would do, it could expose innocent parties to data breaches, the firm claimed.

“Having researched the ICIJ’s allegations we believe they are unfounded and based on a lack of understanding of the legitimate and lawful structures used in the offshore sector,” Appleby said.

Appleby has about 470 staff members, including 60 partners among its more than 200 lawyers. Headquartered in Bermuda, it has offices in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, Seychelles, and China.

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