Dublin MEP Nessa Childers expressed revulsion at the condemnation of Luxleaks whistle-blowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet in a court in Luxembourg, over their key role in unveiling obscure tax agreements between the Grand-Duchy’s government and multinational companies.
Speaking in reaction to today’s suspended prison sentences of up to a year plus fines, Ms. Childers said:
“The mere fact that these two courageous citizens have been brought to court is a disgrace. They ruined their normal life and careers in a large consultancy to expose wrongdoing to the wider public, and have now had their names tarnished with a criminal conviction.
“In a world where tax justice prevails, PriceWaterhouseCoopers should have been on the dock for cooking dodgy deals with the government of Luxembourg, under the tutelage of then finance and subsequently Prime-Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, now head of the European Commission.
“It is beyond farcical and contemptible that the audit consultancy got to play the role of plaintiff, as a victim of trade secrets theft.
“It shows how vulnerable whistle-blowers are when they decide to act in the public interest, how much they stand to lose, and how easy it is for the institutions that employ them to sacrifice them as an example to gag others.
“This is why I rejected the Trade Secrets Directive in the European Parliament, because I was not satisfied with the puny safeguards offered to whistle-blowers.
“On the contrary, had it already been implemented, it would have been of no succour to Messrs. Deltour and Halet, because the actions they revealed were not illegal.
“Indeed, Mr. Juncker’s government’s deals with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and its multinational clients were the law, at big business’ service.
“We need EU legislation to protect whistle-blowers that is as serious as that aimed at protecting company secrets, and which covers those who come out in the public interest with evidence of misconduct and wrongdoing, in good faith, irrespective of whether those acts are legal or not.
“Indeed, this whole sorry affair shows that legal process and justice are not necessarily synonymous.
“I hope Mr. Juncker’s conscience acknowledges that urgent need as a personal debt of his to his fellow compatriots and EU citizens at large.”
“We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, are writing to express our support and solidarity with you in light of the on-going judicial proceedings against you in Luxembourg. We salute your courage over the past years and your tenacity in trying to overturn the 29 June verdict. Clearly, the Luxembourg Leaks had a decisive impact for the debate on tax transparency and tax justice. The European Citizen’s Prize for Antoine Deltour in 2015 underlines this.” 8th September, 2016.