Offshore law firm Appleby has denied that it was the victim of a leak, but instead “a serious criminal act” caused the dissemination of the massive batch of documents that have been termed as the “Paradise Papers.”

The Paradise Papers, which began being published over the past weekend, reveal the obscure financial dealings of companies like Apple and Facebook, and some of the world’s richest and most powerful people, including U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Some 13.4 million files – nearly 1.5 terabytes of data – were leaked, mostly from the offshore firm. The leaks were obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper which also received the Panama Papers last year, and then shared with U.S. based organisation International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In response to the media coverage of the Paradise Papers, Appleby published a series of statements. The latest, published on Monday, states:

“We wish to reiterate that our firm was not the subject of a leak but of a serious criminal act and our systems were accessed by an intruder who deployed the tactics of a professional hacker…. While there were no allegations of any wrongdoing on the part of Appleby, there were some allegations of perceived failings in our business practice standards. Operating in highly regulated jurisdictions, we face an ever-increasing level of compliance obligations. Our overriding objective is to have the procedures and policies to ensure that we have 100% compliance with our obligations. This is a major undertaking and Appleby invests significantly in compliance professionals and processes, not only to put in place the requisite procedures and policies but also to review constantly our current practices to see where there can be improvement.”

Appleby has about 470 employees, including 60 partners, in 10 offices: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Shanghai.

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