LuxLeaks Trial :
hearing before the Court of Cassation

This Thursday 23 November, the LuxLeaks trial was held before the Luxembourg Court of Cassation, with only one hearing.

This hearing was short: The vice-president of the Court of Cassation briefly presented the report establishing the reasons for going before the Court of Cassation, then the lawyers of the defendants and of the civil party briefly pleaded before the five Luxembourg magistrates.

A group of people holding signs in support of the whistleblowers, outside the courthouse
Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

Lawyers' pleadings

Antoine's lawyer, Mr Penning, contested the Court of Appeal's interpretation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case-law.
Indeed, last June, the Court of Appeal upheld Antoine's conviction for stealing documents, arguing that there was un-clarity on what he intended to do with those. However, according to Antoine's defendants, this criterion of “specific intent” is not required by the ECHR case-law and cannot be used to refute the whistleblower’s “good faith”. Mr. Penning reminded the Court that Antoine was “deeply shocked” by the practice of tax rulings discovered at PwC, and his action was the one of a disinterested citizen.

Then came Mr Hansen’s turn, representing the civil plaintiff PwC: He presented this issue of “adding a condition" to the ECHR case-law as a "false issue". He then tried to establish an outrageous comparison, presenting Antoine as “a car thief who would defend himself by claiming that he helped a person in distress”! The audience couldn’t refrain a few laughs.

Raphaël Halet’s lawyers were the last ones to plead. Ms Nalepa and then Mr Colin presented arguments to demonstrate that their client can indeed be qualified as a whistleblower, a status that the Court of Appeal did not recognize him. Mr Colin also stressed that the repeated avoidances of confrontations from Marius Kohl, from the famous office No. 6 of the Direct Tax Administration, contributed to violating the defence rights.

After these brief pleadings, the President of the Court of Cassation closed the hearing, announcing the deliberation: the judgment will be announced after the end of year break, on 11 January 2018.

Antoine Deltour, interviewed by a TV journalist from France 3 Lorraine
Antoine Deltour
Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

Unfailing support!

Despite the expected brevity of the audience, about fifty supporters came to support the whistleblowers, including about thirty who travelled by bus from Lorraine with the Support Committee, as well as several members of the Luxembourgish Solidarity Committee.

Journalist Édouard Perrin was also present alongside his two former co-defendants, even if the Court of Appeal acquitted him last March. He surprised everyone by announcing his decision to sue PwC, asking for the withdrawal of the order that had allowed the multinational to obtain a search mandate in Raphaël Halet's home in November 2014!

Le journaliste Édouard Perrin, réagissant en fin d’audience au micro de France 3 Lorraine
Édouard Perrin, who came to support the whistleblowers
Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour – CC BY-SA 4.0

Let’s meet again on January 11th

The LuxLeaks case is far from over… Ongoing support is essential, so thank you very much!

See you on 11 January for the announcement of the verdict of the Court of Cassation.

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