28 Jun 2018 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 24 Apr 2015 Luxembourg

French Journalist at the Origin of LuxLeaks Revelations Charged in Luxembourg

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
On 23 April 2015, a judge indicted the French journalist Edouard Perrin, who had revealed the first elements of financial scandal LuxLeaks, in May 2012, on the public channel France 2. Edouard Perrin is accused as the alleged co-author of theft, breach of confidentiality, violation of professional secrecy, violation of trade secrecy, money laundering and fraudulent access to the automated data processing system, according to the prosecutor of Luxembourg. The justice suspects Edouard Perrin of being co-author of offenses committed by one of the former employees of the audit firm PWC. A number of documents that, to a large extend, allowed the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to reveal in November 2014 the scandal of hundreds of pre-tax agreements concluded by Luxembourg tax authorities with many international private companies were sourced from PWC. The European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists denounced these actions, saying they were part of actions to intimidate and were disproportionate with regard to the legitimate public interest to disclose tax avoidance practices in Luxembourg.
Resolved
New 28 Jun 2018: On 28 June 2018, taking into account the decision of the domestic authorities that acquitted journalist Edouard Perrin and recognised the status of whistle-blower for Antoine Deltour, and noting that the European Court of Human Rights will now have the opportunity to examine the compatibility of the criteria regarding the whistle blower status applied in the proceedings lodged against Raphaël Halet with the case-law of the Court, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved”, concluding that it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
New 05 Jun 2018
On 7 May 2018, Raphael Halet lodged an application with the European Court on Human Rights against Luxemburg (n° 21884/18). The examination of this application is pending.
18 May 2018
On 15 May 2018, the Court of Appeal found Antoine Deltour guilty of theft of internal documents but did not sentence him. In January 2018, the Court of Cassation had partially accepted his appeal and recognized him the status of whistleblower but only with regards to the dissemination of the tax rulings he had taken along with the internal documents.
11 Jan 2018
On 11 January 2018 the Luxembourg Court of Cassation annulled the suspended prison sentence against Antoine Deltour. The Court rejected Raphaël Halet`s appeal.
16 Mar 2017
On 15 March 2017, the Court of Appeal of Luxembourg reduced the sentence of two “Luxleaks” whistleblowers and confirmed the acquittal of the investigative reporter Edouard Perrin.
01 Jul 2016
On 29 June 2016, a Court in Luxembourg acquitted journalist Edouard Perrin, who had revealed the first elements of financial scandal LuxLeaks, in May 2012, of all charges. The two whistleblowers, former PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet received 12 (+ 1.500 EUR suspended fine) and 9 (+1.000 EUR suspended fine) suspended sentences respectively for leaking documents from the auditing firm. Appeal procedure was announced by the two whistleblowers. Media organisations and associations of journalists condemned the verdict, as having a chilling effect on whistleblowers as journalistic sources and asked for a strong legal protection of whistleblowers at the European level.
27 Apr 2016
French journalist Edouard Perrin, a reporter for Cash Investigation programme on France 2 channel, appeared in court on 26 April 2016 for accusations that he was heavily involved in leak of documents that revealed the Luxleaks scandal, which uncovered tax evasion of large companies. He is being accused by the financial firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of manipulating whistleblower Raphaël Halet to leak documents and of having played "an active part in the perpetration" of infractions that the latter together with a former PwC colleague, Antoine Deltour, are also being accused of: domestic theft, disclosure of business secrets, violation of professional secret and money laundering. Perrin revealed the Luxleaks scandal in May 2012 on the Cash Investigation programme, but the full scandal broke in November 2014, where tax optimisation practises of big firms such as Apple, Ikea and Pepsi were exposed. Deltour, who has kept a low profile and is now working as a civil servant in Nancy in the Lorraine region of eastern France, contacted journalist and co-defendant Edouard Perrin in 2012. Deltour had asked that the journalist to withhold PwC’s name in his exposé, and not to publish any of the document. However, Cash Investigation went ahead and published the details, which were eventually passed on to the New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. PwC sued after the airing of the programme on France 2.
State replies
27 Jul 2016
Reply from the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
24 Jun 2015
Letter from the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (in French)
Follow-ups
28 Apr 2015
OSCE Representative on the Freedom of Media: Journalists should not face criminal charges for their work
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