Monday

10th May 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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. Lukashenko amends emergency transfer of power
  2. German centre-left picks Scholz as would-be chancellor
  3. EU has not ordered AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June
  4. Macron: Pandemic showed need for more EU integration
  5. Election win fuels Scottish nationalists' referendum plan
  6. Surge in migrant arrivals to Italian island
  7. EU embassy pays bail for Georgia opposition leader
  8. British aristocrats caught peddling Kremlin ties

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  2. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  3. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No
  4. Vaccine fairness plus Russia on table This WEEK
  5. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  6. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  7. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  8. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us