LuxLeaks trial:
seventh hearing

Seventh hearing

On Tuesday, the trial resumed with Édouard Perrin’s Luxembourg lawyer pleading. He stressed that, under no circumstances, the journalist asked Raphael Halet to take some documents away from PwC. However, an investigative journalist cannot accuse multinational companies without proof. He requested the acquittal of the journalist, since “condemning someone who contributed to inform our society would be immoral”.

Antoine Deltour arriving at the Couthouse, with his lawyers William Bourdon and Philippe Penning
Antoine and his lawyers
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

Antoine’s lawyers pleading

According to Mr. Philippe Penning, Antoine has to justify in front of this court an action for which he received honors elsewhere. Moreover, his selflessness is striking as he could have sold the documents in his possession. Antoine has become the symbol of the small taxpayers’ fight against multinational companies, as “David against Goliath”. Based on a precise and detailed reporting, Mr. Penning challenged each of the charges against Antoine. He dismissed any premeditation and reminded that none of the PwC clients had charged a complaint. He requested the acquittal for Antoine; however, should the court consider Antoine guilty of training materials theft, the lawyer asked for the sentences to be suspended.

Mr. William Bourdon then stood up “to defend an extraordinarily ordinary man who became unintentionally an extraordinary man”. “Whistleblowers are not aware of their whistleblowers’ status when they act! It is a gradual process, an intimate journey and, at the decisive moment, when meeting Édouard Perrin, Antoine choose the social values”.
Mr. Bourdon emphasized the scope of the current trial. In a solemn stance, he called on the judges to “make an appointment with History”: “You will write an important page for Europe and for European law”; “Give to Antoine his honor back, recognize his gesture. There will be no purer whistleblower than him for decades”. This led to sustained applause in the room!

Me William Bourdon, inteviewed by many journalists after his pleading speech.
William Bourdon interviewed by journalists
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The prosecutor's indictment

David Lentz immediately framed his indictment: “The defendants will be judged on facts, not on press articles”. According to him, Antoine “committed a theft, no more. He is a common law offender, not a whistleblower”. Mr. Lentz thus ignored the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence, which was however reminded earlier by the defense; he also ignored the wide international recognition of Antoine’s action!

Finally, and although recognizing “dubious tax practices", he asked for an 18-month prison sentence for Antoine and Raphael Halet (“although not opposing a fully conditional sentence”), as well as a fine.

The prosecutor also requested a fine against Édouard Perrin. After the hearing, Mr. Bourdon denounced in the press, and rightly so, “an archaic conception of the law” and “requisitions out of all proportion”.

The deputy State attorney David Lentz, pushing a trolley containing the investigation files.
The deputy State attorney, David Lentz
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The last hearing will take place on Wednesday at 15h, with the “answer” from PwC and from the defendants’ lawyers. The judgment will then be reserved for delivery.

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