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Suspect charged in LuxLeaks scandal

The suspected leaker of documents that revealed secret tax avoidance deals between Luxembourg and hundreds of multinational companies has been charged with theft and money-laundering, prosecutors said Friday.

The suspect’s identity has not been revealed, but the Luxemburger Wort newspaper reported that he is a French former employee of auditing firm PwC Luxembourg.

The suspect, who lives in France, appeared before a judge in Luxembourg for several hours and was charged before being released, the newspaper said.

The so-called “LuxLeaks” scandal has exposed deals that saved some of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, IKEA and Pepsi, billions of dollars in taxes while Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, was the country’s prime minister.

Juncker, who only started his new job at the beginning of November, survived a vote of no confidence over the scandal late last month.

The suspect was charged following a complaint in June 2012 by PwC Luxembourg, which discovered documents had been stolen from the company following a report on tax avoidance by the television channel France 2 a month earlier.

Luxembourg prosecutors opened a judicial inquiry after PwC raised the alert, which was relaunched after a subsequent wave of 28,000 pages of documents, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, was pored over by dozens of newspapers last month.

A fresh batch of documents released this week dragged dozens of new companies into the scandal, including Microsoft, Disney and Skype.

Juncker urged EU states and lawmakers on Friday to back tougher money-laundering laws, which campaigners said would prevent a repeat of the scandal.