Appleby Legal Action Over ‘Paradise Papers’

December 18, 2017

Law firm Appleby is “taking legal action” against the BBC and the Guardian following their reporting of documents in the “Paradise Papers” matter, according to a reports from the the Guardian and the BBC.

The Guardian story said, “In legal correspondence, Appleby has also demanded that the Guardian and the BBC disclose any of the 6m Appleby documents that informed their reporting for a project that provoked worldwide anger and debate over the tax dodges used by individuals and multinational companies.

“Appleby has said the documents were stolen in a cyber-hack and there was no public interest in the stories published about it and its clients. It has brought legal action against only the Guardian and the BBC, both UK-based media organisations.

A spokesperson for the Guardian said: “We can confirm that a claim has been issued against the Guardian. The claim does not challenge the truth of the stories we published. Instead it is an attempt to undermine our responsible public interest journalism and to force us to to disclose documents that we regard as journalistic material.

“This claim could have serious consequences for investigative journalism in the UK. Ninety-six of the world’s most respected media organisations concluded there was significant public interest in undertaking the Paradise Papers project and hundreds of articles have been published in recent weeks as a result of the work undertaken by partners. We will be defending ourselves vigorously against this claim as we believe our reporting was responsible and a matter of legitimate public interest.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC will strongly defend its role and conduct in the Paradise Papers project. Our serious and responsible journalism is resulting in revelations which are clearly of the highest public interest and has revealed matters which would otherwise have remained secret. Already we are seeing authorities taking action as a consequence.”

According to the Guardian report, Appleby said: “Our overwhelming responsibility is to our clients and our own colleagues who have had their private and confidential information taken in what was a criminal act. We need to know firstly which of their – and our – documents were taken.

“We would want to explain in detail to our clients and our colleagues the extent to which their confidentiality has been attacked. Despite repeated requests the journalists have failed to provide to us copies of the stolen documents they claim to have seen. For this reason, Appleby is obliged to take legal action in order to ascertain what information has been stolen.”

“Appleby is also seeking a permanent injunction stopping any further use of the information, and the return of all copies of the documents,” the BBC reported.

click here Bermuda Paradise Papers 1

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Comments (14)

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  1. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    If the documents were stolen and the BBC and the Guardian knew said documents were stolen then the BBC and the Guardian can and will be held liable for their actions whether or not they deem the information disclosed to be in the best interest of the general public. If this is the case and they were indeed pedalling in stolen goods, the courts will rule and they will be held accountable for their actions, criminal or otherwise.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      The cat is no longer in the bag.

      Appleby should be asking themselves about their cyber security

    • Rich says:

      Yea, that’s not how breach of confidence works. Balancing the public interest IS the main battleground in these cases.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        I disagree. Balancing the public interest comes into play when publishing otherwise confidential, but legally obtained, documents is in issue. An example might be love letters passing between Prince Charles and Camilla when Diana was still alive if those letters were to be found in the trash.

        What Appleby is looking for is the identity of the person who stole the documents. If I were Appleby, I would certainly want the person who broke into my home (or server) caught and punished.

    • Kathy says:

      Wouldn’t they have to prove that the BBC and or the Guardian stole them?

  2. Stephen Thomson says:

    Proud of Appleby.
    The thought of that sensationalistic journalist from the BBC skulking along whispering into his concealed mic has to be the lowest form of journalism I have witnessed in many years. It should be noted that nothing illegal has come out of that underhanded piece of journalism.

    • Nick says:

      Well done BBC, Guardian and others. There is a genuine – and very, very obvious- public interest issue here.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        A genuine and public interest in the contents of stolen property?

        By that logic, if your Will or your internet browsing history was stolen there would be a “genuine – and very, very obvious- public interest” in everyone knowing about your private affairs.

        I fail to follow that logic.

      • nerema says:

        No there isn’t. It’s purile invasion of privacy.

  3. Bravo says:

    What? No one saw the Hulk Hogan case?

  4. Antlee says:

    I’m sorry, but why is Appelby acting as if the Guardian and BBC are the ones who alerted Appelby its files had been hacked??? Uhhh how would you be going about retrieving said files and protecting your clients if the news stories didn’t break??? THAT would seem to be the larger issue here (along with the shady truth found in said papers). This is a classic diaplay of smoke-screen tactics on the part of Appelby, and they’re also trying to get these media publications to some of their homework for them. Appelby proposes that the organisations instrumental in exposing them now take the role of protecting their image. Oh the irony!

  5. Antlee says:

    Oh the irony of it all! The exposer of your operations is now meant to turn preserver of your image. This is so laughable.

  6. Nick says:

    It is interesting to see that several senior MPs across all major parties in the UK agree that `the disclosures were firmly in the public interest` and, to take one example, that the Swiss Attorney General will now be looking at possible embezzlement issues on a huge international scale. Um ..a public interest issue here? I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at the suggestion that revealing an exchange of love letters between Royals would be a comparable public interest issue- OMG!