Newsletter #9

Verdict of the LuxLeaks appeal trial to be delivered soon: towards the acquittal, finally?

The appeal trial took place in Luxembourg between December and January. It showed once again the exemplary role of the LuxLeaks whistleblowers. The verdict will be issued on March 15th. In view of its delivery, let’s keep up the mobilization!

March 8th, 2017

In this newsletter:

The appeal trial

Citizens’ mobilization

On December 12th, a large mobilization gathered nearly 300 European citizens in front of the Court of Luxembourg for the opening of the appeal trial. More than 20 personalities (MEPs, NGO spokespersons) delivered speeches in favor of tax justice and for the defense of whistleblowers. Many thanks to them! Thanks also to the people who came to support the defendants during the five hearings of the trial which lasted until January 9th.

About 200 European citizens grouped behind a banner
Antoine and his lawyers, arriving at the first hearing

Trial re-enacted

Appeal hearings were less tense than in first instance. The debates largely focused on the definition of whistleblowers according to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. Defense lawyers demonstrated how completely the defendants fulfil the definition criteria. In return, the prosecutor and the plaintiffs’ lawyer only produced very thin arguments. Find the reports of the five hearings on our web site.

Reduced penalties required

In his indictment, the prosecutor requested ‘lighter’ penalties for Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet as compared to the first-instance sentences. He also requested the acquittal of journalist Édouard Perrin. However, even reduced, these penalties are still not acceptable: only the acquittal of the three defendants that will be a fair sentence!

Verdict on March 15th

The verdict of the appeal trial will be issued on Wednesday March 15th at 3pm.

The support committee sets up a free bus trip to Luxembourg from Lorraine (France).

If you can, do not hesitate to join the mobilization!

The only fair decision in law is the acquittal because, if Antoine Deltour is not acquitted, then no whistleblower in Luxembourg will ever be.

William Bourdon
Antoine’s lawyer, during his pleading speech on December 21st, 2016.

Whistleblowers’ protection

Protection in France

A law was debated during last year and finally adopted on December 9th. This law is a great step forward for the protection of whistleblowers in France. NGOs and trade unions consider that this law will have to be further detailed and complemented on certain points.

Soon, a European status?

A roadmap for whistleblowers’ protection was launched in January by the European Commission.

However, MEPs are deploring the Commission’s lack of action and a large majority of them voted in February a resolution on the issue.

You can participate to the European public consultation on whistleblowers' protection. They need you!

It is time to recognize the contribution of whistleblowers to democracy and the rule of law and to stop persecuting them.

Alfred de Zayas
UN independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. He made a statement on January 18th, 2017, quoting the cases of Deltour and Halet.

Fight against tax evasion

Luxembourg in the spotlight

At the end of 2016, Luxembourg announced the modification of its tax rules in order to proscribe certain abusive tax arrangements benefiting multinationals. Yet the country continues to grant many tax rulings and is still considered by Oxfam as one of the 15 most harmful tax havens in the world. In early 2017, The Guardian reported that Luxembourg continues, behind the scene, to slow down any progress in Brussels on tax cooperation between European states.

A tax global conference on the agenda?

Like the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the idea of a global conference to reform the international tax system is gaining ground. In February, French MPs adopted a resolution on this purpose. This first initiative is welcomed by NGOs.

Let’s know what multinationals pay

In 2017, a key measure to fight tax evasion will be discussed at the European level: a country-by-country reporting directive. This transparency measure aims at forcing large companies to publish key activity figures for each country in which they operate: employees, turnover, taxes paid…

I am very grateful for what they have done. They did it right, it was the right thing to do

Margrethe Vestager
European Commissioner for Competition in an interview on December 1st, 2016 (in French) about the LuxLeaks whistleblowers.

Let’s mobilize!

Ongoing mobilization

In more than two years, more than 213,000 people signed the petition to support Antoine.

Support from personalities and institutions is over 500, including 70 organizations.

Initiatives are thriving

In response to the prosecutions in the LuxLeaks case, several support groups have been progressively launched: our Support committee for Antoine Deltour, the Luxemburgish committee of solidarity and the group Help Raph.

Your successful financial support

Antoine’s defense costs for the appeal trial (lawyers’ fees and expenses) were fully covered by the Support Committee, as were the costs of the first instance trial. All this was possible thanks to your donations! A full financial report will be presented at our next Annual General Meeting (on April 5th).

You can keep on supporting Antoine Deltour and also Raphaël Halet (via his support group ‘Help Raph’).

Support T-shirts on sale

The t-shirt features a drawing with the words ‘Je soutiens Antoine’

T-shirts to support Antoine are now on sale (web site in French only). T-shirts are made of organic cotton, resulting from fair work, and printed in France. Black color. Available in women’s or men’s cuts, in sizes S to XXL.

Online orders are possible for delivery to France or the EU (for other countries, please contact us).

Calendar of events

March 15th

Verdict announcement

Let’s all gather in front of the Judicial Court of Luxembourg for the verdict!

Free travel by coach from Lorraine region (stops in Épinal, Nancy, Metz).

April 5th

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Support Committee for Antoine Deltour will take place in Épinal. It will be followed by a round table disussion with European experts fighting for tax justice.

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Photo credits: "Mobilisation citoyenne" ATTAC France / CC BY-SA 4.0 – "Antoine and his lawyers" © Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour / CC BY-SA 4.0 – "European flags" © Kevin White / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 – "Luxembourg Ville" © Frans de Wit / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 – "T-Shirt Je Soutiens Antoine" by Julien Dessailly / © Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour / All rights reserved