• Register
Return to: Home > Comments > Editor's letter: Once again, a whistle-blower

Editor's letter: Once again, a whistle-blower

Antoine Deltour

We are heading towards that time of the year when everyone looks in the rear-view mirror and reflects on the personal achievements, if any, of the last twelve months.

At a collective level, publications of all kinds put together a list of people they deem have made a difference in their areas of expertise or influence.

Our accountancy news desk does the same and sister titles, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin, publish what we have traditionally called the Power 50 list.

This year, 40 of the entries have been picked by readers of our publications through a transparent voting process.

The other 10, can be selected from our 25 editorial picks: organisations and individuals who our editorial team thought they have been a force for good in the accountancy industry this year.

Among those is the LuxLeaks whistle-blower Antoine Deltour. The so-called LuxLeaks created a financial and political earthquake in late 2014, whose aftershocks are still today being felt.

Deltour, a junior accountant at PwC's practice in Luxembourg, opened a can of worms when he accidentally came across a stack of online files: the LuxLeaks.

Those files documented how multinationals used Luxembourg to reduce their tax bill thanks to sweetheart deals reached with the then Junker-led government.

According to Deltour's account, he was searching for training documents in a shared drive when he discovered the files.

In order to spark public debate on tax avoidance issues, he decided to blow the whistle and share the LuxLeaks with a French journalist.

However, according to Deltour's version, he gave instructions that the names of the clients and the auditor shouldn't be disclosed.
Deltour faces now several charges which might carry jail time.

That's a cruel irony, particularly for someone who has stood up to defend the public interest, a value the accountancy profession has arrogated for itself.

Deltour's commitment to ethics is exemplary and accountants in all jurisdictions should be inspired by the courageous actions of this young professional.

In the UK, at least, his whistle-blowing inspired the Parliament. In February the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) select committee launched an inquiry on the role of large accountancy firm in tax avoidance.

The conclusion was clear for the then PAC chair, Margaret Hodge: "We believe that PwC's activities represent nothing short of the promotion of tax avoidance on an industrial scale.

"Contrary to its denials, the tax arrangements PwC promotes, based on artificially diverting profits to Luxembourg through intra-company loans, bear all the characteristics of a mass-marketed tax avoidance scheme."

Similarly, the European Parliament awarded Deltour its European Citizens' Prize in June. He was also nominated for the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded by the same institution.

However, a more vocal support from the accountancy profession is missing. It's never too late, though. Our readers can visit the website https://support-antoine.org/en to find out more about this brave whistle-blower.


Related stories

Power 50: editorial picks

2015 Timetric Accountancy Power 50


Top Content

    Choosing the right location can have cast-iron benefits

    As Game of Thrones, one of the biggest television shows of all time, comes to an end, Joe Pickard looks at how tax incentives offered to television and film production companies help the wider economy.

    read more

    Primary financial statements: a game changer in reporting?

    International Accounting Standards Board chair Hans Hoogervorst delivered a speech at the Seminario International sobre NIIF y NIF, organised by the Consejo Mexicano de Normas de Información Financiera in Mexico. The Accountant presents the highlights.

    read more

    FASB readies standards for the netflix generation

    The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has updated its accounting standard for entertainment, with a specific eye on keeping up to date with how episodic content, such as television programmes, is consumed in the modern world. Jonathan Minter reports.

    read more

    Brexit: why it takes two to tango

    Former TA editor Vincent Huck, now editor of Insurance Asset Risk, looks at why Brexit might unleash geopolitical intrigue in Europe’s accounting standard-setting scene – and why IFRS 17 will be an incredible source of opportunity for firms in the coming years.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.