Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, condemns the guilty verdict and sentencing of Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, the two whistleblowers who revealed secret tax rulings between the Luxembourg authorities and multinationals, known as “LuxLeaks”.
This trial was an appeal of the 29 June 2016 verdict that saw Deltour receive a 12 month suspended sentence and a fine of 1,500 euros, while Halet received a 9 month suspended sentence and a fine of 1,000 euros. Both Deltour and Halet as well as the Luxembourg Prosecutor appealed the sentencing.
The acquittal of Edouard Perrin, the journalist who first reported on LuxLeaks, has been confirmed, but he should never have been prosecuted in the first place.
The LuxLeaks disclosures brought the issue of corporate tax avoidance to public attention and led to greater tax transparency efforts by the Luxembourg government, the European Commission, the OECD and the G20.
“What Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet did by disclosing these million-dollar sweetheart tax deals – tax money that should have gone to help EU citizens – showed major courage. They acted in the public interest, and without whistleblowers like them, we would not see real effort to tackle tax dodging,” said Marie Terracol, Whistleblowing Programme Coordinator at Transparency International.
Whistleblowing is essential to help uncover and prevent wrongdoing. Yet, across the EU whistleblowers like Deltour and Halet often face retaliation due to inadequate whistleblower protection laws. Transparency International calls for EU-wide legislation on whistleblower protection.
“Today’s verdict is extremely disappointing and shows the need for EU-wide whistleblower protection legislation in line with prevailing international standards. The EU needs to raise the bar and show that it is serious about protecting those who act in the public interest,” said Terracol.
Antoine Deltour was convicted and sentenced to 6 months suspended prison and 1,500 euros fine. Raphaël Halet was convicted and sentenced to 1,000 euros fine.
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