MEP Julia Reda comments on today’s verdict in the “LuxLeaks” case. The Luxembourg correctional tribunal’s decision finds former PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet guilty. Journalist Edouard Perrin was cleared of his charges. They were prosecuted after publishing documents that led to the uncovering of far-reaching tax avoidance schemes:

The court’s decision to find Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet guilty sends a catastrophic signal to everyone trying to uncover unethical practices. Their revelations exposed tax avoidance schemes that caused losses in the billions for the public hand, formed the basis of a European Parliament inquiry and have led to the Commission proposing legislation to improve tax transparency!

For his actions, the European Parliament awarded Antoine Deltour with the European Citizens’ Prize in 2015. The verdict demonstrates how inadequate our legal frameworks are when it comes to protecting whistleblowers: The EU needs to establish legal protection for whistleblowers throughout Europe in order to create a minimum-standard to keep people like Deltour from being prosecuted.

I am glad that the journalist Edouard Perrin who broke the LuxLeaks scandal was acquitted of all charges, but a free press depends on free and protected sources. That makes the verdict against the whistleblowers all the more regrettable.

Deltour and Halet, as well as journalist Perrin acted in the public interest when exposing their information. We need to encourage more people to exercise their right to freedom of expression and come forward with important information.

Deltour has announced his appeal. We will continue to closely follow the next steps of this judicial process. They can count on our continued support.

Today’s decision of Luxembourg’s judiciary is a scandal – the only people on trial are the ones that blew the whistle, whereas companies and governments that caused damage to the public remain unsolicited. Now more so than before, whistleblowers cannot rely on court rulings in their favour.

On May 4, 2016, the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament presented its draft of a whistleblower protection directive. In a public consultation, interested parties are invited to participate in its design.

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One comment

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    Mark Tuttle

    Whistle blowing is a part of Democracy…. If democracy is transparent then almost no whistle blowing is needed. If Edward Snowden hadn’t gotten his story out, we would have little idea what was going on, and it was mostly non-constitutional. US government as put more whistle blowers in Jail 8 years than all the president’s previous. If Daniel Ellsberg hadn’t gotten the Pentagon Papers out, we would have had no idea what was really going on in Vietnam…. Also lately the Panama Papers gave us critical insight in the global tax evasion……. Transparency in Democracy can always be improved; in conjunction with laws that make sense; and not just driven by special interests. Tax, Copyrights, Military, Trade Agreements all need help in the EU and the US.