Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, calls for the LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet as well as the journalist Edouard Perrin to be exonerated.
Deltour and Halet revealed secret tax rulings between the Luxembourg authorities and multinationals. On 29 June 2016, Deltour received a 12 month suspended sentence and fined 1,500 euros. Halet received a 9 month suspended sentence and fined 1,000 euros. Both Deltour and Halet appealed the sentencing.
Transparency International believes that what the whistleblowers did was in the public interest and that they should be exonerated and celebrated, not punished.
“It is unacceptable that people who have the courage to protect the European public interest face prosecution and even conviction,” said Anja Osterhaus, programme manager at Transparency International. “We need to raise the standards across Europe and make sure that people feel free and safe to come forward when they uncover wrongdoing. This is why we joined a coalition of over 60 civil society organisations calling for EU-wide whistleblower protection.”
While the First Instance Court acknowledged that the disclosures of the so-called LuxLeaks whistleblowers were in the public interest and led to greater tax transparency and tax justice, they are not protected because the scope of the Luxembourgish whistleblower protection law is limited to corruption, influence peddling and unlawful conflicts of interest. As pointed out by the first instance judge, there is a mismatch between whistleblowing legislation standards as recommended by the Council of Europe and the law in Luxembourg.
“When you have two French citizens being charged in Luxembourg after blowing the whistle on a British firm on practices that affect taxpayers across the EU, it shows that EU-wide minimum standards for the protection of whistleblowers are desperately needed,” said Osterhaus.
With a few exceptions such as Ireland and the United Kingdom, legal protections of whistleblowers are very weak or even absent across the European Union. France has approved such legislation only recently; it is in force as of today.
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