Some of the world’s richest people were braced for their financial details to be exposed on Tuesday night after a major offshore company admitted that its computer records had been hacked.

Appleby, a firm based in Bermuda with offices in many tax havens, said it was in the process of warning clients that they may be implicated in a massive leak of sensitive information.

It is understood the leak involves some of Britain’s wealthiest people, who were instructing lawyers and public relations companies in an effort to protect their reputations.

Appleby has released a statement saying, “Appleby has recently received enquiries from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a number of media organisations who are partners of the ICIJ. These enquiries have arisen from documents that journalists claim to have seen and involve allegations made against our business and the business conducted by some of our clients.

“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.

“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 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.”

Appleby Statement

A statement from Appleby said, “Appleby has recently received enquiries from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] and a number of media organisations who are partners of the ICIJ. These enquiries have arisen from documents that journalists claim to have seen and involve allegations made against our business and the business conducted by some of our clients.

“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.

“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.

“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. 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.

“The ICIJ themselves recognise the legitimacy of the offshore sector with the following statement on their website: “There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”

“We reiterate our commitment to responsible business conduct. If you are a client of Appleby and you wish to discuss any aspect of this statement, please call +44 [0]1624 647 915, or email [email protected]”.

Update Oct 25, 8.44pm: In response to our queries, a police spokesperson said, “Following recent local media reports the Bermuda Police Service is aware of this matter which apparently occurred a year ago – but has not received any related criminal complaint to date.”

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