(23 November 2017) Today Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet will be back in court in Luxembourg to appeal against last March’s court sentence to suspended prison and a fine. It is thanks to both whistleblowers of #Luxleaks, former PWC employees, that the industrial scale of secretive tax cuts rulings granted by the Grand Duchy authorities to over 300 multinational companies was revealed 3 years ago.
The LuxLeaks caused rightly massive public outrage. It also contributed to, amongst other developments, a series of decisions by the European Commission that some of those tax rulings are illegal in light of EU state aids rules e.g. the Amazon and Fiat cases in Luxembourg, the Apple case in Ireland or Starbucks in the Netherlands. Other investigations are in the pipeline including tax rulings granted by Luxembourg (again) to fast-food leader McDonald’s.
In other words, the LuxLeaks whistleblowers have been condemned for contributing to not only revealing that some tax rulings are immoral but that they can also be illegal in light of EU law to which Luxembourg is bound to.
The appeal trial (Court of Cassation) happens a few weeks after the Paradise Papers have shown –once more time– the essential role played by investigative journalists and whistleblowers in protecting the public interest against tax avoidance by the wealthy and the powerful.
It also comes a few weeks after the Commission’s report of its own public consultation that confirms almost unanimous support for EU legally binding standards on whistleblowers protection.
It also comes on the heels of the handover of a trade union/NGOs petition with over 81.000 signatures to the European Commission and the adoption by the European Parliament of a resolution calling for EU horizontal protection of whistleblowers from all kinds of reprisals including litigation.
This powerful momentum should hopefully help the LuxLeaks whistleblowers and their lawyers to convince the Luxembourg court that it is time to finally clear their names. The European Federation of Public Service Unions has been defending that whistleblowers’ protection is part of workers’ rights.
EPSU has expressed in the past its support to Antoine Deltour and on behalf of 8 million public service workers it continues to do so today as well as to Raphaël Halet. Both should be immediately released.