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Luxembourg tries to jail whistleblower "heroes" who exposed damaging tax deals

Added 25 Apr 2016
Monday April 25 2016

Tomorrow the trial against whistleblower Antoine Deltour and French journalist Edouard Perrin will begin in Luxembourg. Both men are on trial because of their involvement in the world famous 'LuxLeaks' scandal, which revealed secret sweetheart deals signed by the Luxembourg government, to allow major multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes.

Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said: “We owe Antoine Deltour and Edouard Perrin our warm thanks for revealing that large multinational corporations are using secret tax deals with Luxembourg to avoid paying their taxes. Due to these kinds of sweetheart deals, both developed and developing countries are currently losing billions of Euros every year.

“The court case against them is a farce. They acted in the public interest, and deserve protection from prosecution.”

“The information they revealed shouldn’t have been secret in the first place. There’s no reason why citizens shouldn’t be allowed to know where multinational corporations do business and where they pay their taxes, and we’re happy that the EU is finally considering legislation to introduce real transparency on this matter.”

More than 100,000 people have expressed their support for the whistleblower Antoine Deltour by signing the online petition: https://www.change.org/p/support-antoine-deltour-luxleaks?lang=en-GB

During the last year, civil society organisations have also been campaigning for protection of tax whistleblowers and public access to information about where multinational corporations do business and where they pay taxes (so-called ‘country-by-country reporting’).

ENDS

Media contacts:
Julia Ravenscroft, Communications Manager, Eurodad: +32 486 356 814.
Tove Ryding, Tax Justice Coordinator, Eurodad: +32 491 208 790.

Notes to editors: 
  • To read Eurodad’s press release about the campaign for protection of tax whistleblowers, see here:http://eurodad.org/Entries/view/1546403/2015/05/08/Upcoming-EU-presidency-faces-whistleblows-and-calls-for-transparency 
  • Campaigners have been calling for strong public country-by-country reporting which would require multinational companies to disclose a breakdown of the following figures: profits earned, taxes owed and taxes paid, number of employees and turnover, as well as an overview of their economic activity in every country where they have subsidiaries, including offshore jurisdictions. While such a measure would allow for real tax transparency, the current Commission proposal is far less ambitious.
  • The European Parliament has voted for a stronger public CBCR proposal within the Shareholders Rights Directive. This directive is currently under trilogue negotiations.
  • Banks in the EU are already required to disclose country-by-country tax reports. Companies in the extractive and logging industries have to publish their payments to governments relating to the exploitation of natural resource on a country-by-country basis. 
  • An Oxfam report on country-by-country reporting by French banks revealed the very prominent role of tax havens for these companies.
  • The use of tax havens is becoming increasingly commonplace - 9 out of 10 of the world’s top 200 companies have a presence in at least one tax haven while corporate investment in tax havens quadrupled between 2001 and 2014, a recent Oxfam report shows. 
  • Eurodad (the European Network on Debt and Development) is a network of 46 civil society organisations (CSOs) from 20 European countries, which works for transformative yet specific changes to global and European policies, institutions, rules and structures to ensure a democratically controlled, environmentally sustainable financial and economic system that works to eradicate poverty and ensure human rights for all. Please visit www.eurodad.org.