Appleby: ‘Not Leak, An Illegal Computer Hack’

November 5, 2017

[Updated] Following the Leader of the Opposition’s comments in UK Parliament, Appleby said they “wish to make it clear that our firm was not the subject of a leak but of an illegal computer hack,” and also added that they are a “global organisation” and it “is not factually correct to state that Appleby has its headquarters in Bermuda or that this is a Bermuda cyber-attack.”


Last month major law firm Appleby confirmed they received enquiries from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] and media organisations about “documents that journalists claim to have seen and involve allegations made against our business and the business conducted by some of our clients,” confirming they had a “data security incident last year.”

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] — which is most well known for their reporting on the ‘Panama Papers’ — states it “is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries.”

According to their website, Appleby has offices in the “key offshore jurisdictions of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, and the Seychelles, as well as a presence in the international financial centres of Hong Kong and Shanghai.”

Appleby Statement

A spokesperson said, “Following the Leader of the Opposition’s comments in Prime Minister’s Questions, about a leak from an off-shore law firm, we wish to make it clear that our firm was not the subject of a leak but of an illegal computer hack.

“Journalists claim to have seen documents from multiple sources, including Appleby. During the cyber-attack, we believe, but we do not know for certain, that a limited number of private documents were stolen by criminals from servers in a number of our offices.

“Whilst we have taken robust measures to protect ourselves from further attacks, we believe that these illegally held documents will be used by journalists who will be publishing stories about the off-shore world in the next few days. We will continue to defend ourselves and our legitimate and lawful business against these groundless allegations.

“We are a global organisation comprising ten offices which have equal prominence within the global business. We do not have a headquarters. It is not factually correct to state that Appleby has its headquarters in Bermuda or that this is a Bermuda cyber-attack.

“Cyber-crime is an enormous problem for individuals and businesses around the world and we believe that neither politicians nor journalists should condone or encourage it in any way for example by referring to material stolen in this way, unless that is absolutely necessary to discuss matters of great public concern.

“In this instance, that is simply not the case and we believe that the hack should be condemned for the criminal act it is and the privacy of the information respected.”

Telegraph Report

Last night the UK’s Telegraph named two prominent people expected to have details revealed, which they said will be “published by an international group of left-leaning journalists on Sunday.”

Their report said, “One of the Conservative Party’s biggest donors and a billionaire hedge fund manager who played a key role in the Brexit campaign are both braced for revelations about their financial affairs…

“Lord Ashcroft, who has given millions to the Tories, could see his company’s financial deals exposed as he is a client of a company which has been caught up in a huge data leak.

“The dealings of Robert Mercer, a major donor to Donald Trump who also aided the Leave.EU campaign, could also come under scrutiny following the attack on one of the world’s biggest offshore law firms.

“The men are the first to be named in connection with hack on Appleby, first disclosed by The Telegraph, files from which are expected to be published by an international group of left-leaning journalists on Sunday.”

‘Teasers’ on Offshore World & Taxes Coverage Being Posted

While not specifically stating they are related to the Appleby hack, some major international media have tweeted ‘teasers’ or made subtle comments online in the past 24 hours, appearing to indicate coverage is to come regarding taxes and the offshore world, with some tweets notable in that they have been retweeted by the ICIJ, such as the video below which was posted on social media by the BBC Panorama, and retweeted by the ICIJ.

Update 1.27pm: The ICIJ has just tweeted again, a video referencing the “Paradise Papers”, saying that, “The kinds of patterns we saw with the Panama Papers are now being repeated with the Paradise Papers.”

Update 2.43pm: The “Paradise Papers” have been released.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    Investigative journalism is one thing, promoting criminal activity is another. I hope that the so-called “main-stream” press will refuse to report on the fruits of such criminal activity.

    • John Joseph says:

      Did they finally report the data theft to the Police?

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        The rumour is that the theft took place from the Isle of Man office. I suppose that the IOM Constabulary would be the people to ask.

    • edd says:

      joe look mate you sound like a politician trying to avoid the importance of the main reason by making into something else to deflect the real purpose of tax dodging, you & your posh friends can make excuses for tax dodging all you’s hacking or not, morally as a human i like to think that this was only done for the good of the normal person on the streets,if that causes you all concerns then thats not very human then is it? please dont bother replying bck to me as im more human than you , i might not have a rich life like you might have but atleast i no im more human than you for it & i can sleep better at night may it be a posh four poster bed or on the wet streets.

  2. ROGER LAMBERT says:

    These busineses hacked have not been investigated nor prosecuted by the Law. Those who hack & expose these businesses show that their Jealousy would do anything to wrongly expose legitimate businesses. The hackers show their own weaknesses.

    • Wassup says:

      Wow, talk about having a go at the messenger and ignoring the message, these guys need congratulating !

      • Jan says:

        That is the standard ‘moral defence’ and you may want this type of journalism encouraged BUT be careful what you wish for! This is populist journalism, which there are funded courses by the extreme left whom are paying and recruiting for their specific ideology, is not interested in accurate reporting but getting the MESSAGE across. In their own words they use as broad a base as possible from various respected sources and use this to back up their moral message. Nothing wrong with that you would think. Until those various respected sources become corrupted.. now who do you believe. They themselves call their strategy PEACOCKING riding off the back of what you believe is accurate reporting. If you know your history it may sound familiar and you know where it leads…it starts with those who are easy targets to get the populus to hate then it is broadened so the state has every piece of information on you so they can control the economy for the benefit of the few i.e. the state. I’m going to give up my business apply for a job in the local council just to be safe.

  3. puzzled says:

    It’s all over the breaking news world wide.

    100 million pages according to CNN and MSNBC….

  4. Jon says:

    Well done BBC panorama for shining a light on these supper greedy super rich scum who feel that they are above the law and not subject to the same tax laws as most law abiding plebs myself included. I think the only way to get this information is from hackers as positions would do all they can to protect there donners and the supper rich.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      You had better hope that the Bermuda Government has a better firewall than Appleby, otherwise YOUR private information may be made public. Would you applaud such criminal activity then?

    • just wondering says:

      Given that the Panorama program itself made the point that there was no evidence of illegal activity these people were not acting “above the law” – they were acting within it – and they are subject to the same taxes as you are – they choose to minimize their exposure to taxes – there is nothing wrong with that at all

  5. Real Onion says:

    Popcorn time…gotcha watch the high n mighty snobs fall

  6. Credit Suisse says:

    Two real questions:

    1. Is this the end for Appleby?

    2. How will Putin’s goons handle this? (I sure would not want to be the guys they blame for screwing up).

  7. Retired says:

    Look for name change in 3 months “Appleby” to “Gombey Legal”

  8. Micro says:

    It’s funny how these “investigative organisations” get their hands on information illegally and than use that stolen information to blast the company it was stolen from.

  9. Sean says:

    So the whole thing started by bad employee(s). Either one not caring about confidentiality or incompetent I.T. staff.

  10. aceboy says:

    The ICIJ is in possession of stolen goods in the form of information. Onward selling it, through newspapers and media outlets is dealing in proceeds of crime. Simple.

  11. Imjustsaying says:

    Was it a ‘white hat hacker’ or a ‘black hat hacker’ and is there such a thing as a legal hacker or cracker?

  12. Imjustsaying says:

    ‘blue hat’ hacker or ‘elite’ hacker