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Lux Leaks: Whistleblowers are not criminals
A Luxembourg court today overturned the previous guilty verdict imposed on whistle-blower Antoine Deltour, who exposed secret deals that enabled multinational companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in tax. At the same time, the court upheld the verdict against whistle-blower Raphael Halet.
Reacting to the news, Natalia Alonso, Oxfam International’s Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, said:
“Whistleblowers who expose tax dodging are not criminals. When corporations cover up their dodgy tax practices, the bravery of individuals like Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet is a stand for justice. The real scandal is the billions of dollars that tax dodgers unfairly stash away every year, taking it from public services like hospitals and schools.
“Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet should never have gone to trial. In the absence of greater tax transparency, whistle-blowing is often the only way tax dodgers are exposed. Governments have to implement reforms like requiring companies to report the profits they make and the taxes they pay for each country they operate in, so it’s clear if they are paying their fair share of tax.”
- Legislation passed by the European Parliament in July 2017 should require the biggest companies to publicly declare their earnings and taxes in all countries where they operate. However, the rules, known as public country-by-country-reporting, include a “get out” clause allowing big companies to retain information if they declare the publication damaging for their own business. Some European national governments are also blocking a final deal.
- The UN estimates that corporate tax dodging costs developing countries $100 billion a year.
- Oxfam has published a 5-point plan that outlines steps governments should take to prevent further scandals such as Lux Leaks and the Paradise Papers, including measures to end tax secrecy, and a global blacklist of tax havens.
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