Luxleaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour, former Pricewatershouse Cooper employee who in 2014 came forward as a source of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ LuxLeaks release, was found guilty of theft and violating Luxembourg secrecy laws. The release, based on confidential tax rulings, shed light on multinational tax avoidance and prompted a wave of response throughout Europe. In 2015, Detour himself spoke at a public hearing held by the European Parliament.
Last week, Detour was given a 12-month suspended sentence and €1,500 fine.
As the Guardian reports,
Another former PwC employee, Raphael Halet, was convicted on similar charges on Wednesday relating to the theft of a smaller cache of tax deal papers which was also eventually leaked to journalists. He was given a a nine-month suspended sentence and was fined €1,000.
Edouard Perrin, a French journalist accused of helping Halet, was acquitted.
Though he avoids jail time, Deltour criticised the sentence for its broader impact:
sentencing the citizens at the origin of LuxLeaks revelations is equivalent to sentencing the regulatory advancements which have been triggered by these revelations and which have been widely acclaimed across Europe. This is also a warning towards future whistleblowers, which is detrimental to citizen’s information and the good functioning of the democracy.
Deltour’s support committee released a statement as well:
The support committee is outraged by the sentence against the whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. This inexplicable and unacceptable sentence ignores the public interest of their action, and overcomes the European law. It is an affront to the many supports received from around the world.
Deltour and Halet’s convictions send the message that protecting secrecy is more important than informing the public about major corporations’ tax avoidance and the rulings that enable them. Courage roundly condemns the convictions and sentences — the whistleblowers deserve praise instead of punishment. Indeed, Deltour has been awarded a European Citizens’ Prize, and more than 200,000 have signed a petition in support of Deltour.
As the support committee notes, “Antoine Deltour doesn’t accept this sentence and he has decided to appeal against it.”