PARADISE PAPERS | Following the release of the Paradise Papers earlier today, the offshore service provider Appleby insisted that it has done no wrong.
The company - which is the larger of the two offshore service providers affected by the Paradise Papers leak - also denied claims that it had not responded to questions from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
It reiterated that it was the victim of a crime rather than a "leak" and accused the media organisations involved in the leak of pursuing a political agenda at the expense of fairness an accuracy.
For the record, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that obtained the data and shared it with the ICIJ and its partners had said that it is unable to verify Appleby’s claim that it had been hacked.
“The paper received the data through legal channels and evaluated them journalistically. The newspaper declines to take part in speculation as to how the data may have been obtained,” it said.
Apart from the offshore service firms Appleby and Asiacity, the government-maintained company registries of 19 tax havens, including Labuan, are also part of the Paradise Papers leak.
Below is Appleby’s Nov 5 press release in response to the release of Paradise Papers, which is reproduced in full:
Appleby reaction to media coverage on Nov 11, 2017
“Recent media coverage, including the Panorama programme aired on Nov 5, continues to focus on the offshore sector. The journalists do not allege, nor could they, that Appleby has done anything unlawful. There is no wrongdoing. It is a patchwork quilt of unrelated allegations with a clear political agenda and movement against offshore.
We wish to reiterate that our firm was not the subject of a leak but of a serious criminal act. This was an illegal computer hack. Our systems were accessed by an intruder who deployed the tactics of a professional hacker and covered his/her tracks to the extent that a forensic investigation by a leading international Cyber & Threats team concluded that there was no definitive evidence that any data had left our systems.
This was not the work of anybody who works at Appleby. Panorama stated they have nearly seven million of our documents. They also claimed to have sourced information from “publicly available documents”. The BBC website states that “the Paradise Papers contains 13.4 million documents”. It is plain that the source of documents is not confined to Appleby.
We have had lengthy correspondence with the International Consortium of Independent Journalists (ICIJ). Their claim that we "did not reply to their detailed questions" is false. We responded to their questions and we requested that they show us the documents they have in their possession which belong to us. Extracts of our response to the ICIJ, which they acknowledged on Oct 26, are set out below...