LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG | January 11, 2018 — A Luxembourg court today has overturned the verdict against a “LuxLeaks” whistleblower who was convicted of leaking thousands of documents that revealed tax breaks for multinational firms. Former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employee Antoine Deltour was serving a six-month suspended sentence for leaking files related to tax-evasion schemes.
Mr. Deltour is one of the two whistleblowers behind the LuxLeaks scandal in which nearly 30,000 documents exposed deals struck between Luxembourg and a long list of multinationals, including Amazon, Apple, IKEA, and Pepsi.
“Today is a victory,” Mr. Deltour said as he left the courtroom.
“This decision is a significant step in the protection of whistleblowers in Europe,” Mr. Deltour’s lawyer, William Bourdon, told AFP news agency.
“For the first time in Europe, a high court recognizes the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights,” Mr. Bourdon added.
Luxembourg’s highest appeals court said Mr. Deltour was wrongly accused and that he should have been fully recognized as a whistleblower as defined by the European Court of Human Rights. This status allows individuals to violate certain obligations, such as business secrecy, if it serves the public interest.
However, the sentence against Mr. Deltour’s colleague Raphael Halet, who received a 1,000-euro fine after an appeal, was upheld as the court said he did not fit the whistleblower definition. The Court found that the documents he had disclosed, “did not provide any hitherto unknown information that could revive or fuel the debate on tax evasion.”