23rd Mar 2018

New court appeal clouds LuxLeaks whistleblowers future

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers helped companies obtain at least 548 tax rulings in Luxembourg from 2002 to 2010. (Photo: Mélanie Poulain)

Luxembourg's justice department says whistleblowers who revealed massive state sanctioned tax evasion may or may not face harsher sentences after a public prosecutor opened a counter-appeal against them earlier this week.

Henri Eippers, a spokesperson from the justice department, told EUobserver on Thursday (4 August) that public prosecutors filed a general appeal against the three defendants in the so-called LuxLeaks scandal.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"It is just to have a global view on the file and to have all three together," he said.

Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet were each given 12 and 9 month suspended jail sentences in June for handing over thousands of documents from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to journalist Edouard Perrin.

Perrin, who had first exposed the scandal on French television in 2012, was acquitted of all charges.

The documents show how multinationals used Luxembourg's public tax rulings to avoid paying billions in tax in other countries.

The full scale of the scandal came to light in November 2014 when the International Consortium of Journalists released a series of articles on the Luxembourg schemes.

They found that big companies like Pepsi, IKEA, and Deutsche Bank had slashed their tax bills from the 29 percent corporate tax rate to close to zero.

The revelations are a major embarrassment for the European Commission, whose president Jean-Claude Juncker was both prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg at the time of the rulings.

Both Deltour and Halet have since appealed against their verdict.

Eippers said the move by the public prosecutor to lodge a general appeal last week is standard procedure. It means all three will have to respond, including Perrin who was acquitted.

"For the moment, it is not said that the state prosecutor will demand harsher sanctions against Mr Perrin, that is not said," said Eippers.

Perrin targeted

Tove Maria Ryding, tax justice coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development, described the appeal as shocking.

"We fully understand why the two whistleblowers appealed their sentences, which were extremely harsh,” she said.

“But the court decided to let the journalist go free without punishment. It's quite shocking that Luxembourg doesn't just step back and let him go, but instead seems determined to pursue Mr Perrin too."

Fabio de Masi, a German MEP from the United Left, who helped spearhead an EU parliament inquiry into the scandal said Luxembourg's public prosecutor would be better off probing Marius Kohl, a high-ranking, now retired official in Luxembourg's tax agency, who helped broker the deals.

"Why is the prosecutor not investigating Marius Kohl instead who provided PwC with the official letterhead of the Luxembourg administration, which is highly corrupt," he said an email.

De Masi said the EU needs whistleblower legislation to help protect people who expose breaches to EU laws.

"I fear the Juncker commission will not protect Perrin, Deltour and Halet from this mafia style prosecution," he said.

LuxLeaks whistleblowers fined and put on probation

Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, former employees at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) who revealed how corporations hid away profits, were fined and given suspended sentences by a court in Luxembourg.

LuxLeaks whistleblowers sentenced again

PwC employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, who revealed how multinational companies dodged taxes through deals in Luxembourg, were given reduced sentences.

LuxLeaks forces discussion on EU-wide protections

LuxLeak whistleblower Antoine Deltour is urging justice ministers to help put in place rules to protect people across Europe who leak confidential information for the public good.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions