12 December 2016 - Christian Aid Ireland joins campaigners from 20 countries in Luxembourg to demand protection for whistle-blowers and an end to corrupt corporate taxation.
Christian Aid Ireland joins campaigners from 20 European countries today to protest against corrupt tax breaks for multinationals and the punishment of whistle-blowers, as the men who exposed the LuxLeaks scandal appear in court.
In 2014, former PwC employees, Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, and journalist Edouard Perrin, exposed hundreds of secret Luxembourg tax rulings brokered by PwC that allowed corporations to avoid taxes in the billion Euro scale.
Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet will return to court to appeal the verdicts of their initial trial in June 2016. Deltour received to a 12-month suspended prison sentence and a €1500 fine, Halet was handed a nine-month suspended prison sentence and a €1000 fine. Edouard Perrin was acquitted, but the public prosecution appealed this ruling.
Sorley McCaughey, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Christian Aid Ireland, said:
'These men deserve praise, not punishment. The information revealed in the LuxLeaks scandal should never have been secret in the first place and has been commended by many political leaders.
'Tax avoidance is not a victimless practice. Citizens have a right to know where multinational corporations do business and what they pay in taxes. But we recently saw through the Apple tax ruling the extent to which governments and corporations are engaging in immoral tax deals behind closed doors that serve to only benefit the wealthy.
'Financial secrecy allows companies to avoid paying billions in tax each year and ordinary citizens are picking up the full tab for providing valuable state services.
'Homelessness, unemployment and financial uncertainty continue to hit the poorest in society, while governments offer multinationals more and more tax breaks in a damaging race to the bottom. This serves only to leave states with fewer resources to deliver on vital public needs.
'Whistle-blowers who expose such corruption are playing a valuable public role and must be protected. It is not the men at the centre of LuxLeaks who should be named and shamed but the many companies that are not playing their part by paying their fair share.
'The LuxLeaks three have the support of people from countries across Europe. We will gather in Luxembourg to protest against their treatment and the web of secrecy that surrounds corporate tax dealings in the EU.'
For media queries contact:
Head of Communications – Christian Aid Ireland
Notes to editors:
About the trial: On 23 June 2016, a court in Luxembourg sentenced both Antoine Deltour to a 12-month suspended prison sentence and a €1500 fine, and Raphaël Halet to a nine-month suspended prison sentence and a €1000 fine. Both have appealed their convictions. The journalist Edouard Perrin was acquitted, but the decision was appealed by the public prosecutor in Luxembourg. At the start of the trial, prosecutors asked for 18-month prison sentences for both whistleblowers and a fine for Perrin.
The LuxLeaks revelations: Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet were former employees of ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm PwC who exposed hundreds of secret Luxembourg tax rulings – also known as ‘sweetheart-deals’, which were brokered by PwC and allowed corporations to avoid taxes in the billion Euro scale. In total, the revelations, which became known as LuxLeaks, brought to light the secret tax arrangements of 340 corporations, which enabled them to lower their tax payments, in some cases to less than 1%.