Luxembourg appeals verdicts in LuxLeaks tax scandal
Luxembourg has lodged an appeal against the sentences handed down to three LuxLeaks whistleblowers who exposed the small duchy's huge tax breaks for giant multinationals, the justice department said Tuesday.
“The state prosecutor lodged a general appeal at the end of last week,” spokesman Henri Eippers told AFP.
Former PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet were given suspended 12-month and nine-month jail terms while journalist Edouard Perrin was acquitted of all charges at their trial in June.
Eippers said the government’s decision to launch a general appeal against all three sentences was driven largely by concerns over Perrin, a journalist with France 2 television who based his expose on thousands of documents obtained by the other two.
The LuxLeaks scandal, which implicated global firms such as Apple, IKEA and Pepsi, sparked howls of protest in Europe, leading to a crackdown on the generous tax deals the wealthy seemed able to arrange with governments as normal people struggled with tough austerity policies.
The revelations were doubly embarrassing since they showed many of the tax deals were cut during the premiership of Jean-Claude Juncker, now head of the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU.
Deltour and Halet, who have already appealed against their sentences, faced a maximum penalty of 10 years on charges which included stealing documents, revealing business secrets and violation of professional secrets.
The documents were used for a 2012 report by Perrin on French public television and then exploded onto the world stage two years later with the huge LuxLeaks release of all 30,000 pages into the public domain.
Defence lawyers argued that all three should have been acquitted since they acted in the public good with the sentencing raising concerns about the future role of whistleblowers in Europe.