Statement - Luxleaks verdict

15th March 2017

Public Concern at Work Chief Executive Cathy James said, ''Whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet should today have been acquitted of all charges. Their actions were totally in the public interest, and should be commended. As they themselves have said, they 'did something important to help change things.'

She went on to say, ''EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said 'it is important when people tell if they find that something is not the way it should be — then authorities, law enforcers can do their job and do it in a better way.' We agree.

The LuxLeaks scandal erupted in 2014 when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published over 500 tax rulings on its website linking Luxembourg to about 350 international firms. This prompted the EU to take steps to stop global firms avoiding tax in Europe, including anti-trust inquiries into firms such as Apple, McDonald's and Amazon.

A Luxembourg court (March 15) handed down reduced sentences to ex-PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The former received a six-month suspended sentence and a 1,500 euro fine, reduced from a 12-month sentence, and the latter was ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 euros in place of a 9-month jail term. In June last year both were sentenced for the leak of documents that revealed the huge tax breaks the tiny EU nation offered to companies including Apple, IKEA and Pepsi.

PCAW Chief Executive Cathy James said, ''The scandal resulted in a new law in Luxembourg requiring EU member states to share tax deal information to stop global firms avoiding tax in Europe - yet these whistleblowers are still not exonerated for their actions. The case highlights weaknesses in Europe’s protections for whistleblowers.''