11:35 GMT +318 November 2019
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    (L to R) Edouard Perrin, Raphael Halet and Antoine Deltour

    LuxLeaks Whistleblowers Launch Appeals Against Guilty Verdicts

    © AFP 2019 / John Thys
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    The appeal against convictions begins Monday (December12) of the two employees of an accountancy firm who exposed the extent of the use of "sweetheart deals" by major companies to reduce their tax liabilities by making use of benign arrangements in Luxembourg, in what became known as LuxLeaks.

    Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet — both former employees of tax specialists PricewaterhouseCoopers — were, June 29, found guilty of stealing documents, revealing business confidences and violating trade secrets.

    Deltour was handed a 12 month suspended sentence, while Halet was given a nine month suspended sentence. They also received suspended fines of US$1667 and US$1111 respectively. Edouard Perrin, the journalist who shed light on the affair, was acquitted. 

    The men's supporters say they acted in the public interest in exposing corporate tax avoidance and that the convictions were an affront to freedom of expression and their fundamental human rights to report a wrongdoing.

    "These three men have the support of people from numerous countries across Europe who will all gather to show their support for their actions. The original sentences of Mr. Deltour and Mr. Halet were a total disgrace, and we want this injustice to stop," said Tove Ryding, tax justice coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad).

    Actions Praised

    "You shouldn't have to go to court for exposing the fact that that multinational corporations are dodging taxes. These men deserve praise, not punishment. The information revealed in the LuxLeaks scandal should never have been secret in the first place, and has been praised by many political leaders," she said.

    The scandal emerged when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a series of documents exposing Pepsi, IKEA, AIG, Coach, Deutsche Bank, Abbott Laboratories and nearly 340 other companies which had secured secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to slash their global tax bills. 

    The scandal brought further investigations into tax arrangement run by Apple, Starbucks and other major companies, as well as calls for companies to be forced to pay taxes on the sale of products and services in the country in which each transaction was actually made.

    Related:

    Sweetheart Tax Deals 'Skyrocketing' in Europe Despite LuxLeaks Scandal
    Over 100 MEPs Sign Pact to Overturn LuxLeaks Whistleblowers' Convictions
    Luxembourg Prosecutor Appeals Verdicts on 'LuxLeaks' Tax Scandal Whistleblowers
    Calls for EU Whistleblowers' Charter in Wake of LuxLeaks Verdicts
    Tags:
    LuxLeaks, tax avoidance, tax breaks, Criminal Court of Luxembourg, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Edouard Perrin, Raphael Halet, Antoine Deltour, Europe, Luxembourg
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