LuxLeaks Appeal trial:
the opening day
A strong European mobilization!
Coming from 20 European countries, about 300 activists and citizens were present in front of the Luxembourg Court of Justice on December 12, 2016. They stood there in support of the accused ones: the whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet who appealed their conviction in first instance, as well as the journalist Édouard Perrin. As a prelude to the opening of the trial, some 20 personalities from Europe (and Canada) took the floor to recall the stakes of the LuxLeaks trial. A huge guard of honour welcomed each of the defendants, chanting “Thank you Antoine, Thank you Raphael, Thank you Édouard!”.
Marius Kohl, still not available
At the opening of the hearing, Raphael Halet's lawyer came to plead the appearance notice of Marius Kohl, who –within the Luxembourg tax administration– massively validated (and without in-depth study of the cases) the tax arrangements submitted by PWC on behalf of multinational corporations. Marius Kohl, as in the first instance, sent a medical certificate for the whole period of the trial. The validity of this certificate was questioned. The objective of Raphael Halet's lawyer is to get Marius Kohl be heard as a witness, contributing to the strategy of pleading the illegality of the large scale rubber-stamping of rulings. The court registered the request and will respond to it later.
Antoine Deltour’s hearing
Antoine is then called to testify. The prosecution recalls several facts examined in the first instance. As the judge questioned the reasons for resigning from a promising job, Antoine explains again how uncomfortable he felt being witness of aggressive tax optimization practices: “It is worth asking oneself the right questions early in the career, to know what one wants to do all lifelong”. The judge reminds the circumstances under which documents were copied and makes sure that Antoine knew the contents of what he copied. On this occasion, Antoine reminded that he “did not want all the documents to be released publicly with the names of the companies and his employer on them”. He stresses his intentions when copying documents: if he did not have precise intentions on the timing and the means to use the documents, his sole motivation was to draw attention to practices he had observed and which he considered to be detrimental. Antoine, who maintains his statements of first instance, remains “proud of the repercussions of the revelations”.
Raphaël Halet’s hearing
Raphaël Halet then testified. As for Antoine, the judge goes back to several facts: yes, he is the one who took the initiative to contact the journalist Édouard Perrin. The judge calls the technique of transmission of documents via draft e-mails a “conspiratorial system”, to which Raphael Halet replies that “it is a system like any other”. Raphael Halet justifies his choice of transmitting tax returns, and not tax rulings, by the act that Perrin had already received many tax rulings; the objective was to shed new light on the aggressive tax optimization practices of the companies already involved.
See you on december 19 and 21!
The next hearings are scheduled for Monday, December 19, and Wednesday, 21, both in the afternoon. Everyone who can come to Luxembourg and support the accused ones for these two hearings are warmly welcome!
- AFP / Luxemburger Wort – LuxLeaks whistleblowers appeal jail sentences
- Delano – Kohl question dominates debut of LuxLeaks appeals
- Euractiv.com The Brief: LuxLeaks whistleblowers’ trial is a disgrace
- Politico – Former tax chief misses LuxLeaks trial (again)