Antoine Deltour: LuxLeaks whistleblower’s long legal battle continues

Antoine Deltour: LuxLeaks whistleblower’s long legal battle continues

This article was edited on 23 November 2017. The case is being heard by the Court of Cassation, which will announce its verdict at a later date.

On Thursday 23 November, the Court of Cassation of Luxembourg will hold a hearing on the appeal of Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower who revealed aggressive tax avoidance schemes in Luxembourg by sharing the 'LuxLeaks' documents with journalists in 2014.

Deltour shone a light on so-called 'sweetheart deals' between the Luxembourg government and some 340 companies, including Apple, Amazon, Ikea, Pepsi and Deutsche Bank. Some of the companies had managed to secure tax rates of less than one per cent on their profits by registering their businesses in the Grand Duchy.

The LuxLeaks disclosures helped spur the Luxembourg government, the European Commission, the OECD and the G20 to take action to fight tax avoidance. For showing journalists the proof of these deals, however, Deltour was charged and convicted of theft, fraudulent access to a computer system, laundering acquired data, and violating professional secrecy and trade secrets.

In a later appeal, the courts recognised Deltour's role as a whistleblower, and that his revelations were in the public interest. He was acquitted of violating professional secrecy and trade secrets, but still received a suspended 6-month prison sentence and fine of €1,500 for the other charges.

Now, the High Court is examining the legal basis for that decision. Unfortunately, though, even if the court decides in Antoine's favour he would simply return to a lower court to be tried again - his long and costly legal battle is far from over.

Ironically, even while being tried and convicted in Luxembourg, Deltour has been celebrated by the European Union. In 2015, he was awarded the European Citizens' Prize – an award given to those who promote mutual understanding and European values.

His case could have been avoided had comprehensive whistleblower protection been passed across the EU and properly implemented at the national level. That's exactly what Transparency International are campaigning for, because individuals must be able to speak out against wrongdoing if corruption is to be tackled. More and more EU countries are adopting whistleblower protection legalislation (such as Italy), but others are still lagging behind (such as Poland). Last week, we handed EU law-makers in Brussels a petition signed by tens of thousands of citizens who believe in protecting the right to speak out.

Will the highest court in Luxembourg at least recognise that whistleblowers are not thieves? We'll find out soon.

Supporters of Antoine Deltour have set up a support committee to help him and other whistleblowers like him. If you would like to get involved, find out more here

Image: Copyright, Sophie Rauszer

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

What people think: corruption in the Middle East & North Africa

Momentum has been building against corruption for years in the Middle East and North Africa. From Lebanon and Sudan, where millions of people took to the streets earlier this year to speak out against their governments, to the Arab revolutions that toppled corrupt leaders nearly a decade ago, people are fed up with rampant corruption across the region.

Wasta: How personal connections are denying citizens opportunities and basic services

In many Arab countries the use of personal connections, or “wasta” in Arabic, is a common practice and a social norm. People use their family or social contacts to skip the line and gain quicker and better access to basic goods and services. How much you can increase the speed and quality of your service often depends on who you know – the higher the better, of course.

Sextortion: Middle East and North Africa

Sextortion is one of the most significant forms of gendered corruption and although women’s rights have advanced unevenly across the Middle East and North Africa, positive momentum has been building in the region over the last decade.

Lack of political integrity is undermining trust in democracy in Middle East and North Africa

The Global Corruption Barometer – Middle East and North Africa 2019 reveals that leaders in the region are perceived as acting in their own self-interest at the expense of the citizens they are meant to serve. This has serious consequences for trust in democratic institutions.

آراء المواطنين:  الفساد في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا

لقد تزايد زخم التنديد بالفساد خلال السنوات الماضية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا. وضاق الناس ذرعا بالفساد المستشري في مختلف أنحاء المنطقة، من لبنان والسودان، حيث خرج ملايين الناس إلى الشوارع في مطلع هذا العام للتنديد بصوت عال بممارسات حكوماتهم، إلى الثورات العربية التي أطاحت بالزعماء الفاسدين منذ زهاء عشر سنوات.

الرشوة الجنسية: منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا

على الرغم من تفاوت التقدم المُحرز على مستوى حقوق المرأة في مختلف أنحاء الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا، شهدت المنطقة زخما إيجابيا تنامى تدريجيا خلال العقد الماضي. إذ أصبح عدد أكبر من النساء يُعبّرن عن أنفسهن داعيات إلى تعزيز تمثيل المرأة في الحكومة وتجريم العنف المنزلي وتحقيق المساواة في الحقوق للنساء والفتيات، إلى جانب عدد من المسائل الأخرى التي تهم المرأة. وتُناضل النساء في مختلف دول المنطقة من أجل إعلاء كلمتهن.

حرمان المواطنين من مختلف الفرص والخدمات الأساسية  بسبب استغلال آخرين لعلاقاتهم الشخصية

يُعتبر استغلال العلاقات الشخصية في البلدان العربية، أو ما يُعبّر عنه بالواسطة، مُمارسة منتشرة ومُتعارف عليها اجتماعيا. إذ يستغل مختلف الأشخاص علاقاتهم الأسرية أو الاجتماعية لعدم الوقوف في الصف وللوصول على نحو أسرع وأفضل إلى المدارس أو الجامعات أو المستشفيات أو الوظائف، و"لتعجيل" الإجراءات الإدارية في المؤسسات الحكومية مثل تجديد وثائق الهوية أو شهادات الميلاد. وتعتمد عادة سرعة حصولك على الخدمة وجودتها على الشخص الذي تعرفه؛ فبطبيعة الحال، كلما كان في منصب أعلى كان ذلك أفضل لك.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media