POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Court recognises whistleblower status for Deltour



Antoine Deltour (centre) is seen entering the central courthouse complex in Luxembourg City before an appeals hearing in the LuxLeaks case on 12 December 2016 Marion Dessard/Archives

Antoine Deltour (centre) is seen entering the central courthouse complex in Luxembourg City before an appeals hearing in the LuxLeaks case on 12 December 2016 Marion Dessard/Archives

Luxembourg’s highest court has overturned part of the conviction against former Luxembourg PwC employee and LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour.

In its judgment, dated 11 January 2018, the Court of Cassation annuls the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 15 March 2017 concerning Antoine Deltour. It considers that “the recognition of the status of whistleblower can only be based on an assessment of the facts as a whole, that is to say that the recognition of the whistleblower's status must apply in principle to all the offenses for which a person is prosecuted,” says a statement from Luxembourg’s judicial system.

It refers to the dissociation that the Court of Appeal had held between the removal of the documents by Antoine Deltour and their transmission to the journalist Édouard Perrin. The Court of Cassation therefore recognises Antoine Deltour as a full whistleblower, under which he is entitled to the protection granted by case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
He will nevertheless be retried for the removal of the other internal training documents he had removed the day before his departure from PwC.

The court upheld a lighter sentence of a €1,000 fine against Raphäel Halet, who was convicted of theft, fraudulent access to a computer system, laundering data and violating professional secrecy.

Both former PwC Luxembourg employees stood trial in Luxembourg in 2016 for leaking confidential information about Luxembourg’s tax rulings set up by PwC to the press.

The Lux Leaks disclosures involved the leak of nearly 30,000 documents regarding tax rulings between Luxembourg and multinationals such as Amazon, Apple and Pepsi.

Deltour received a 12-month suspended sentence, which was later lowered to 6 months, and €1,500 fine. Halet, meanwhile, landed a nine-month suspended sentence, which was later repealed, and a €1,000 fine.

Transparency International welcomed the decision. Executive director of Transparency International Patricia Moreira called for “comprehensive whistleblower protection laws in all EU countries to ensure that whistleblowers like Deltour and Halet are not prosecuted in the future.”

The Twitter account @support_Antoine also called for EU whistleblower protection with a tweet on Thursday morning.