Newsletter #7

On June 29th, verdict of the LuxLeaks trial: let’s not let the accused ones being convicted!

The judgment of Antoine Deltour and of the two other defendants, Raphael Halet and Edouard Perrin, will be delivered on Wednesday, June 29th.
Even though the trial ended several weeks ago, let’s keep up the mobilization for stopping tax impunity benefiting multinationals in Europe. Let’s continue to advocate for a real status protecting whistleblowers as they defend the general interest!

June 24th, 2016

In this newsletter:

Trial: the end of a bad dream?

A disturbing trial

From 26 April to 11 May 2016, the LuxLeaks trial, held in Luxembourg, was the first major whistleblowers’ trial in Europe. A puzzling trial which, on one side, showed the impunity that large companies benefit from and, on the other side, the determination and the selfless courage of the defendants to inform about firms’ unethical practices.

The defense lawyers have requested the acquittal but the prosecutor took a hard line and required a 18-month jail sentence against the whistleblowers.

D'Lëtzebuerger Land cover,  May 13, 2016
The Accountant cover, april 2016

The verdict

On June 29th, Antoine Deltour will appear free in front of the criminal court, accompanied by his lawyers, and so will Raphael Halet and the journalist Edouard Perrin. A high media presence is expected. It will be important to be there with Antoine for this event. Your presence in Luxembourg will be greatly appreciated. A rally is also planned in Paris.

The support committee will let you know about the verdict as soon as possible. Depending on this verdict, Antoine and his lawyers will react and comment. The Court will publish the written grounds of the judgment only a few days after it has been communicated.

Burdening the whistleblowers would not have been my approach. I think they are not morally guilty.

Jean-Claude Juncker
former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, in an interview in Le Monde (in French) who distanced himself from the Luxembourg justice and tried to have his involvement in the Luxembourg organized tax evasion being forgotten.

When will the whistleblowers be protected?

The LuxLeaks trial is crucial because it contributes to the establishment of a European case law on whistleblowers. But things are moving also in the European and French legislation; unfortunately not always in the right direction.

Trade secret approved in the EU

After the European Parliament approval of the "Trade Secret" directive last April, it was the turn of the 28 EU Member States to definitely approve the text late May. While the directive helps fighting against industrial espionage, it also may silence those who would denounce the companies’ wrongdoing. We must now call for a directive protecting whistleblowers.

Sign “Merci Antoine”
French finance minister Michel Sapin

France wants to strengthen whistleblowers’ protection

The name of Antoine Deltour was quoted many times in early June in the French National Assembly, when a bill, supported by the finance minister, was discussed. Even though claiming to be highly ambitious in protecting whistleblowers, the related law article is little convincing and many NGOs are calling to rewrite this article

I hope we will soon have good news on the outcome of the trial of Antoine

Sylvie Guillaume
Vice President of the European Parliament.

Fight against tax evasion

Tax adjustments

In France, several tax investigations have progressed and recently resulted in adjustments and searches at the headquarters of several major companies including McDonald's or Booking. Amounts related to tax evasion are sometimes huge, as 1.6 billion euros of recovery notified to Google France. At European level, the investigations concerning the tax practices of giant companies like Amazon, Apple or McDonald's should soon be concluded.

More transparency soon?

In parallel to European and OECD initiatives, France wants to make it compulsory for multinational companies to publicly report their activities country by country (profits, taxes paid, number of employees...). An economic draft bill includes a provision of transparency, essential to shed light on tax evasion. This is a recurring request from NGOs that is fiercely rejected by big business, which can, more easily than SMEs, benefit from tax loopholes.

In Europe

This week, European Member States have come to an agreement to fight against the main tax optimization tools used by companies in Europe. The agreement was reached at the price of exemptions or delays, which unfortunately will weaken the effects of this deal.

Thanks to Antoine and Raphael, we gained several years in the fight for tax justice

Eva Joly
in her video address in a support meeting organized by Raphaël Halet on June 17 in Metz (France).

They support Antoine…

More than 200,000 people signed the petition! The number of well-known supporters also keeps increasing! Among the new supporters:

Nicolas Hulot
President of Foundation Nicolas-Hulot.
Naomi Klein
Pierre Larrouturou
co-president of Nouvelle Donne
Daniel Mermet
Claire Nouvian
Executive director of BLOOM
Yannis Youlountas

Some expressed their support for Antoine through poetry, drawings, rap or dance. Congratulations to them!

In order to enrich and expand the list of personalities who publicly support Antoine, feel free to contact the Support Committee ([email protected]) if you know any public figures (politicians, intellectuals, scientists, artists, writers, athletes, etc.) who would be willing to add their names to the list. We are particularly looking for international personalities!

Calendar of events

June 29th

Verdict of the LuxLeaks trial

The support committee will be mobilised in front of the courthouse, from 2 pm.

The Luxembourgish committee of solidarity with the defendants will present a symbolic play in the courtyard.

June 29th

Citizen mobilization

Several NGOs will rally in a “Fan Zone” to support LuxLeaks defendants in front of the Luxembourg embassy (2 p.m.)

Antoine needs your help!

In order to fund Antoine's defense, we still need donations!

More than 1,700 people already contributed to the fundraising… thank you so much!

Donate Now

Donations to the Support Committee are collected via the secured platform HelloAsso.

It is also possible to send a check made payable to ‘Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour’.

You can also: :

  • Follow us and share information about supporting Antoine on the facebook page Support Antoine and the twitter account @support_antoine

  • Invite your family and networks to keep informed and sign the pledge via the website

  • Take any initiative to let people know about Antoine’s situation: through the local press, bulletins from associations or activists, speeches during debates or by organizing events… Feel free to contact the Support Committee to let them know about the initiatives or to prepare the actions.

  • Join the Support Commitee (minimum fee: 5€).

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Photo credits: "Land" Capture d'écran de la couverture de D'Lëtzebuerger Land – "Libération" Capture d'écran de la couverture de Libération – "200 000 signataires" © Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour / CC BY-SA 4.0 – "Michel Sapin à l'Assemblée Nationale" Capture d'écran / FranceTV Info – "Logo Greenpeace" © Greanpeace / All Rights Reserved – "Logo SNJ-CGT" © SNJ-CGT / All Rights Reserved – "Logo Citoyens Résistants" © Citoyens résistants d'hier et d'aujourd'hui / All Rights Reserved – "Nicolas Hulot" by Olivier « toutoune25 » Tétard / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 – "Naomi Klein" by Moizsyed / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 – "Pierre Larrouturou" by Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 – "Daniel Mermet" by Didier Chérel / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 – "Claire Nouvian" © BLOOM / All Rights Reserved – "Yannis Youlountas" by Éric Philos / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0