LONDON - The offshore company at the centre of the "Paradise Papers" leak that provoked worldwide anger at the tax evasion tactics of multinational companies and the rich and famous has launched legal proceedings against The Guardian and the BBC alleging breach of confidence.
The offshore firm, Appleby, demanded that the two media organisations disclose any of the six million Appleby documents that were used for their stories on the complex arrangements and offshore activities used to dodge taxes.
It has sought damages for the disclosure of what it said were confidential legal documents.
The Paradise Papers were first leaked to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the US-based, Pulitzer Prize-winning International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ coordinated the work of 380 journalists from 96 media organisations across 67 countries on reporting on the expose, which led to a formal inquiry by the Australian tax office, a review into VAT schemes on the Isle of Man and calls from EU Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici for changes in the law to stop tax evasion.
Appleby said the documents were stolen in a cyber attack and there was no public interest in stories about them. But the BBC and The Guardian said they would defend their role in the expose.