Conviction of LuxLeaks whistleblowers ‘appalling’ - Carthy
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has expressed disappointment that a Luxembourg court has upheld the convictions of LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The verdict in their retrial was announced this afternoon, with the convictions upheld but their sentences reduced.
Ex-PricewaterhouseCoopers employee Antoine Deltour received a six-month suspended sentence and a 1,500 euro fine, reduced from a 12-month sentence. Raphael Halet was ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 euros in place of a 9-month jail term.
In 2014, Deltour and Halet, and journalist Edouard Perrin, revealed more than 340 sweetheart tax deals between Luxembourg and multinationals that allowed the companies to pay as little as one per cent in tax.
In June last year Perrin was acquitted, while Deltour and Halet were convicted of theft and violating Luxembourg's professional secrecy laws. The pair were fined and given suspended sentences. Today Perrin’s acquittal was also upheld.
Carthy, a member of the Panama Papers inquiry committee, said:
"I’m appalled that Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet have had their convictions upheld today. The courageous actions of these whistleblowers in exposing the tax-dodging scams of multinationals should be applauded, not prosecuted.
“We need meaningful protection of whistleblowers now. The European Commission refuses to move forward on this despite repeated demands to do so from the European Parliament. Company ‘trade secrets’, on the other hand, have been given privileged protection.
“LuxLeaks prompted an inquiry in the European Parliament but we can see that the political response has been totally insufficient. The fact that Jean-Claude Juncker, who oversaw this industrial-scale tax avoidance in Luxembourg remains the president of the European Commission shows just how insufficient the response at the political level has been.
“The fact that we had to rely on whistleblowers to alert the world to what was going on shows the secrecy that surrounds the tax affairs of multinationals.
“It demonstrates the urgent need for country-by-country reporting by large multinationals to be made public. The Irish government should stop blocking this proposal.
“I want to congratulate Antoine Deltour, Raphael Halet and Edouard Perrin for taking the principled stand that they did in exposing these tax scams. They should be applauded for the stance they took and the service they have done for the public – not convicted of criminal actions."