Appleby data breach may expose the world’s richest individuals

Appleby, a well-known Bermuda-based law firm, has confirmed that it suffered a 'data security incident' last year that compromised some of its data but it is yet to reveal how much data was lost to hackers.

The ICIJ may publish details of business dealings conducted by Appleby's clients based on documents obtained via a hacking incident last year.

Operating in Bermuda since the late 1890s, Appleby now has offices in places like Hong Kong, Shanghai, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, and the Seychelles. The firm advises clients on corporate, financial, regulatory and property matters and is renowned for serving the world's richest corporate firms and individuals.

However, a data security incident suffered by the firm last year may not only impact its reputation but may also unravel details of its clients' business dealings conducted from offshore locations. The firm has admitted that it lost some of its data to hackers but its recent clashes with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) suggests there's a lot more to it than the firm is letting on.

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The consortium recently contacted Appleby and confronted the firm with allegations of illegal business dealings conducted its clients. The journalists told the firm that they came across a number of hacked documents that proved their assertion, but the allegations have been brushed aside by Appleby.

'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,' the firm said.

'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,' it added.

Appleby also expressed disappointment with the fact that the journalists may have obtained the alleged documents illegally, stating that the same may expose innocent parties to data protection breaches.

According to Business Insider, the journalists' consortium is planning to publish a series of stories based on the allegations. The revelations may not only bring out details of murky business dealings conducted by Appleby's super-rich clients, but also the firm's involvement in such dealings.