Appleby leak fallout emerges in Isle of Man
A conference focused on offshore financial centres is planning an extra session on the hacking of law firm Appleby and its consequences.
Meanwhile fallout from the breach surfaced in the Isle of Man, a UK Crown dependency, where journalists have been investigating alleged avoidance of British value-added tax on private jets.
Organisers of the OffshoreAlert Europe Conference, to be held in London next month, yesterday announced the addition of a session entitled: “Inside the ‘Appleby Leak’: What does it reveal?”
Bermudian-based Appleby admitted this week that some of its data was “compromised” last year.
And consequently the firm said it had faced questions from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and partner media organisations that “involve allegations made against our business and the business conducted by some of our clients”.
Appleby, which has offices in multiple offshore locations, including the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Shanghai, denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this week Howard Quayle, chief minister of the Isle of Man, held a press conference, which indicated that journalists from the ICIJ had been asking his government questions concerning allegations of VAT avoidance on private and corporate jets.
The ICIJ is understood to be working with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Le Monde in France, as well as Japanese television, German media and the BBC’s Panorama programme.
In what appeared to be a pre-emptive strike against the imminent allegations, Mr Quayle said: “Like all responsible members of the global community, we take allegations of this nature extremely seriously.
“The ICIJ has so far rejected our repeated requests to provide written evidence to support their claims.
“During the course of our own ongoing review, we have found no evidence of wrongdoing or reason to believe that our Customs and Excise has been involved in the mistaken refunding of VAT.”
He added that in light of the journalists’ questions, his government has asked the UK Treasury “to look at all elements involved in the process of the importation of business jets via the Isle of Man into the EU”.
Meanwhile, OffshoreAlert, an online newsletter about the offshore financial world, will stage the extra session on the “Appleby leak”.
OffshoreAlert’s owner and editor, David Marchant, a former business reporter at The Royal Gazette, said: “I’ve extended invitations to both Appleby and the ICIJ to participate in the session.
“This is a significant event in the world of high-value international finances and raises important questions such as ‘privacy versus public interest’, the use of ‘stolen’ data, how to protect data in the era of leaks, and the type of business that was being transacted.”
The OffshoreAlert conference will be held at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on November 13 and 14. For more information, see the website www.offshorealert.com/conference/london