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Appleby settles Paradise Papers litigation against Guardian and BBC

Appleby settles Paradise Papers litigation against Guardian and BBC

Parties announce they have resolved differences to end legal action launched by offshore law firm.

The investigation was undertaken by 96 media groups in 67 countries and relied on material provided by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

It said it had been leaked the documents, which it shared with partners through the US-based, Pulitzer-prize-winning International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In legal correspondence, Appleby demanded from the Guardian and the BBC the disclosure of any of the 6m Appleby documents that informed their reporting.

The company also sought damages for the disclosure of what it said were confidential legal documents obtained in a digital hack.

The Guardian said last year it would defend the claim because to not do so could have profound consequences that would deter British media organisations from undertaking serious, investigative journalism in the public interest.

An agreement between the parties was reached after it became clear the vast majority of the documents were no longer owned by Appleby and were not legally privileged.

A joint statement said: “Without compromising their journalistic integrity or ability to continue to do public interest journalism, the Guardian and the BBC have assisted Appleby by explaining which of the company’s documents may have been used to underpin their journalism. This will allow Appleby to initiate meaningful discussions with its clients, colleagues and regulators.”

A spokesman for the Guardian said: “The Guardian’s reporting from the Paradise Papers is investigative journalism that has raised important issues in the public interest.”

The BBC said: “We welcome this settlement which preserves our ability to carry out investigative journalism in the public interest.”

Michael O’Connell, the group managing partner of Appleby, said it had started the legal action to understand which of its confidential and privileged documents had been taken.

“From the outset we wanted to be able to explain to our clients and colleagues what information of theirs had been stolen. That was our duty. As a result of this legal action we are well on our way to achieving our objectives.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

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