LuxLeaks trial:
eighth and final hearing

On the agenda of the day: the replies from all sides to yesterday prosecutor indictment and to the defendants’ lawyers’ pleadings.

Members of the Support committee behind a sign « Tax Justice, Thank you Antoine »
The Support Committee, always mobilized
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The plaintiff’s lawyer

PwC’s lawyer developed 7 points. One was specifically about Antoine, who, according to PwC, “became the ambassador of transparency only at a time when he could not hide anymore”. He also criticized Antoine’s “intellectual acrobatics”, in reference to the fact that, according to PwC’s lawyer, Antoine did not know what he was doing on October 13th, 2010 when copying tax rulings, while he subsequently pretended to be a whistleblower, as part of a defense strategy.

The defense’s lawyers

It was then the turn of the different defense’s lawyers to take the floor, broadly reiterating the key elements of their respective pleading.

An element to be remembered however: Mr. Colin, Raphael Halet’s lawyer, stressed the prosecutor’s “duettist role with PwC lawyers”, based on the fact that the former included in his indictment all the plaintiff’s arguments.

Mr. Penning, Antoine’s lawyer, reminded Antoine’s gradual evolution, as well as the lack of premeditation, which is not incompatible with a whistleblower’s action, based on an outrage feeling in front of multinational tax practices. Like the other lawyers, Mr. Penning blamed the prosecutor for ignoring the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and for neglecting the new ‘hierarchy of norms’, with European law prevailing over the Luxembourg Criminal Code.

Édouard Perrin’s lawyer declared: “Either Mr. Perrin is acquitted in Luxembourg or he will get Luxembourg being condemned in Strasbourg by the European Court of Human Rights”.

Mr. Philippe Penning, talking with members of the Support committee, after the hearing.
Mr. Penning talking with the Support committee
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

Antoine’s statement

The defendants are then invited to take the floor. Only Antoine made ​​a statement, to clarify once again his approach:

Mr. President,
I find it normal to appear before you as I understand that the prosecutor might think that I have formally violated the law. I appreciate the quality of the discussions that revealed the unpremeditated and selfless character of my action. As you understood, this has allowed to open the debate on “dubious tax practices” and to promote the general European interest.

As I already declared to you and to the investigating judge, and as demonstrated by the elements in the file, my approach when I copied the tax rulings was already a citizen approach. Admittedly, I did not know then what I would do with these documents; I copied them because they hurt my conscience.

It is not about ex post “intellectual acrobatics”; I confirm that it is impossible to put a precise date on a gradual reflection. I also reaffirm that my outrage at some tax practices dates back from October 13th 2010. As I kept saying, this was one of the reasons why I resigned (from PwC). None of the thousands emails that you found in my computer can question the sincerity of my approach.
Even though I did not realize it immediately, it is undeniable that, factually, I am a whistleblower.

I ask you to judge me not as a criminal but as a whistleblower.

Round of applause in the room!

Antoine Deltour with a beer outside a café.
Antoine, after a gruelling trial
© Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

The President closed the meeting and announced that the judgment delivery is set for June 29th.

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