LuxLeaks trial:
fourth hearing

As the hearing starts, Antoine’s lawyer, Mr. Penning, provides to the Court with new data for the record: several written statements of public figures or experts (Pervenche Berès, Jean-Marie Cavada, John Christensen, Yann Galut, Alain Lamassoure, Daniel Lebègue, Richard Murphy, Thomas Piketty, Tove Maria Ryding, Michael Theurer and Carlos Tornero Martin), the prizes awarded to Antoine, our list of public supporters, and the count of the petition, representing almost 190,000 signatures!

Arrival at the courthouse
Arrival at the courthouse
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The silence of the tax administration

Guy Heintz, one of the Directors of the Luxembourg tax authorities, was summoned to the court by Mr. Penning. Guy Heintz was asked to provide elements of information on the process followed by his services for approving rulings. At the outset, Mr. Heintz declared that he would not be able to mention facts "that are not publicly available", due to his civil servant status, professional confidentiality and tax secrecy. Consequently, a great number of very precise questions from Antoine’s lawyers remained unanswered, without raising any objection from the president!

When Raphaël Halet clears Édouard Perrin

The court then proceeds with the hearing of Raphael Halet, a former PwC employee. He is accused of having provided 16 businesses’ tax reports to Edouard Perrin, following the broadcasting of the “Cash Investigation” TV program in 2012. Raphael Halet overall acknowledged the facts: according to him, “Cash Investigation” worked as an eye-opener to the “shocking” nature of the documents he was processing every day. As tax evasion goes against his values, he got in contact with the journalist, who was the “only possible channel to induce a change”. He declared himself as a whistleblower and largely cleared Édouard Perrin, who was confirmed to not have explicitly requested PwC records.

Raphaël Halet, talking to his lawyer.
Raphaël Halet
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The Luxembourg rulings industry

On substance, the hearing of Raphael Halet, who was the head of a Tax process support team at PwC, revealed that the rulings were prepared by PwC and “rubber-stamped” by the Luxembourg tax administration (30 to 50 approvals in one afternoon only). PwC also provided clerical work for the Luxembourg tax ministry, like editing notifications with official ministry headers and digitizing tax rulings.

Mr. Halet also declared that PwC did not suffer from the documents leak, quite the contrary: With the broadcast of Cash investigation TV program, many companies “learnt about the services provided by PwC”, which then gained new clients.

The trial will resume Tuesday, May 3rd at 9 am, starting with Antoine’s hearing.

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