On Monday 12 December, more than 100 campaigners from over 20 countries across Europe were in Luxembourg to show support for the LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, as well as journalist, Edouard Perrin, at the start of their retrial.
Tommy Hardt / Editing: Xavier Bechen
The day began with campaigners setting off on a “Tax haven
safari”, exploring the wilds of Luxembourg City to spot the letterbox companies
of big multinationals like McDonalds, as well as the banks and accounting firms
that enable them. Letterbox companies often have few or no employees and little
if any economic activity, but they allow big corporations to make use of very
favourable tax treatment in countries like Luxembourg.
As the whistleblowers and journalist arrived at the courthouse, supporters lined the route to welcome them. Signs bearing the word ‘thank you’ in many European languages were held aloft as the men passed in a demonstration of gratitude for their contribution to the fight against tax dodging.
Photo: Xavier Bechen
A 20 metre banner declared the message of the campaigners: “protect whistleblowers, not tax dodgers.” Tove Ryding, Tax justice Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:
“These three men have the support of people from numerous countries across Europe who have gathered to show their support for their actions. These men deserve praise, not punishment. The information revealed in the LuxLeaks scandal should never have been secret in the first place. You shouldn’t have to go to court for exposing the fact that that multinational corporations are dodging taxes.”
Photo: CCFD-Terre Solidaire
In 2014, all three men helped expose the secret sweetheart deals signed by the Luxembourg government that allowed numerous multinational corporations to reduce their tax bills dramatically, in some cases to less than 1%. The whistleblowers were given suspended sentences and fines, while Edouard Perrin was acquitted. All three have returned to court for a retrial.