This Thursday, 23 November, Antoine Deltour’s and Raphaël Halet’s appeal to the Luxembourg Higher Regional Court will begin. Antoine Deltour and Halet will challenge the verdict against him on the grounds that he acted honestly. The former employee of the auditing firm PwC, Raphaël Halet and the journalist Edouard Perrin discovered the so-called Luxleaks scandal in 2014. It was only when Luxembourg’s tax arrangements with hundreds of companies became known that the European Commission and the Member States decided to finally relaunch the fight against tax dumping. The sentence against Deltour a year ago was six months on probation and a fine of 1.500 euros. If the appeal to the Luxembourg Higher Regional Court fails, Deltour’s and Halet’s only option remains to take their case further to the European Court of Human Rights.
Sven Giegold, spokesman for economic and financial affairs for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, comments the upcoming appeal decision:
“Antoine Deltour’s appeal is a grotesque low point of justice. The sentences against Deltour and Halet are scandalous in two ways. Firstly, it is simply wrong that, in its first judgment, the court claims that the tax rulings revealed by Deltour and Halet are legal. On the contrary, the tax rulings were not only illegitimate but also illegal, because they violated European state aid law and European tax law. Secondly, it is outrageous not to judge whistleblowers on the overriding public interest of their actions. Instead, the court demands pure intentions of whistleblowers when they blow the whistle, which is utterly inappropriate in view of the massive tax dumping scandal that has been uncovered. Whoever averts billions of euros in damage to the common good must not be punished, even if at the time of data collection there may have been other motives in mind. The whistleblowers deserve acquittal and protection for their commitment to the common good. The Luxembourg court criminalizes civil courage.
The Deltour case is an example of why we need immediate effective protection for whistleblowers. To date, Luxembourg has not yet presented any kind of reform of their whistleblower protection law. In fact, government promises are stalled. There is still a lack of protection for whistleblowers from the private sector. A comprehensive whistleblower protection law is also overdue in Germany. At least, after years of pressure, the European Commission has announced to publish a draft proposal for next year. We will not rest until whistleblowers are effectively protected throughout Europe.“
My testimony at the trial of Deltour and Halet: