Thursday

15th Nov 2018

MEPs sign letter in support of LuxLeaks whistleblowers

  • Whistleblower Antoine Deltour (r) received a 12-month suspended sentence (Photo: European Parliament)

One hundred and eight MEPs have signed an open letter to support the two whistleblowers judged in Luxembourg for revealing sweetheart tax deals granted to multinationals.

In the letter to Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, dated 8 September, the eurodeputies expressed their "support and solidarity" and said their revelations "had a decisive impact for the debate on tax transparency and tax justice".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Deltour and Halet, two former employees of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, in July were given suspended sentences of 12 and nine months. Another defendant, journalist Edouard Perrin, was acquitted. Luxembourg's prosecutor appealed the ruling and a new trial will take place.

The MEPs say they were "shocked and angered" by the two men's conviction because the same court had recognised their whistleblower status.

In their letter, which they also sent to the EU justice and competition commissioners, Vera Jourova and Margrethe Vestager, and to Luxembourg's justice minister, Felix Braz, the signatories said they would "continue to push for sufficient legislative protection for whistleblowers in the months and, if needs be, years ahead."

Tangible action

"The European Commission’s recognition of the importance of the matter in its 5 July communication on tax transparency will hopefully translate into tangible action soon," they added.

They also called for an investigation into the ties between the Luxembourg tax administration and corporations like PricewaterhouseCoopers that were revealed during the trial.

The letter was initiated by German left-wing MEP Fabio de Masi after the court's ruling in July and published only now, after MEPs came back from their summer break.

The timing is also designed to put pressure on Luxembourg authorities, before the statutory limitation for Marius Kohl, the former head of Luxembourg tax agency, ends, allowing him to escape questioning.

Only one EPP signature

It is mainly signed by MEPs from De Masi's GUE/NGL group, the centre-left S&D and Greens/EFA groups, and by a handful of MEPs from the liberal Alde and eurosceptic EFDD groups. Only one MEP from the centre-right EPP group, the parliament's largest group, joined the letter.

"We contacted all MEPs several times throughout July, a source close to De Masi told EUobserver, adding that MEPs from the far-right ENF group were not contacted "for political reasons".

"There was no reply formally by any group. The signatures are probably just reflective of the importance attached by different groups to the issue," the source said.

Asked about why the EPP was not represented, a group spokesman said it was "not aware of that letter. We do not know who initiated this letter nor who was asked to sign."

He added that in the negotiations of the report of the special committee set up by the parliament's to investigate the LuxLeaks, "the EPP group's stance was that whistleblowers' protection is national competency [power], as criminal law in general is national competency."

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 trial to be whistleblower showcase

The trial of Antoine Deltour, who leaked documents on Luxembourg's sweetheart tax deals with big firms, will be used by campaigners and politicians to push for a law to protect whistleblowers.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published
  2. UK cabinet agrees Brexit deal after marathon session
  3. Czechs join other EU states in rejecting UN migration pact
  4. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  5. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  6. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  7. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  8. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls

Stakeholder

An open China brings opportunities to Europe

Some 60 years ago, the first major World Fair after World War II was held in Brussels. Sixty years on, China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first world expo dedicated to expanding imports, will open in Shanghai, China.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  2. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  3. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  4. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  5. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  6. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  7. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  8. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us