World’s rich brace themselves for Panama Papers version 2 after Bermuda firm suffers data hack

Offshore services firm Appleby admits suffering a cyber hack last year after journalists from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists contacted it for reactions on its business and that of its clients

The latest leak of tax data comes from the island of Bermuda
The latest leak of tax data comes from the island of Bermuda

A leading Bermuda-based offshore services firm that services super-rich clients has admitted it suffered a data hack in 2016 that could result in private information being leaked.

Appleby, which has offices in a number of British overseas territories, said some of its data had been “compromised” in what it described as a “data security incident”.

The firm was forced to admit the security breach in a statement on its website after investigative journalists probing its work and that of some of its clients contacted it.

Appleby said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media outlets working with them had contacted it.

The expectation is that the ICIJ and leading media houses would lift the lid on the offshore activity of the world’s rich and international corporations that use Appleby’s services in a re-run of Panama Papers.

Last year, the ICIJ, in collaboration with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, exposed the workings of the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, following a massive data leak.

READ ALSO: From Panamagate to Panama Papers

The names of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri had appeared in Panama Papers after they used the services of Mossack Fonseca to open companies in Panama just after the 2013 election.

Appleby said it investigated the allegations made and concluded, “there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients”.

The company said it was an offshore law firm that advised 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 statement said.

It is unclear what will happen but there is a growing expectation that this data leak could be big as a number of media organisations are gearing up to release information from the cyber attack.

Appleby has offices in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, Seychelles and Shanghai.

In June 2017, Appleby acquired Heritage Financial Services Group in Belfast, Guernsey and Malta. The Malta office of Heritage is at Smart City.


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