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May 13, 2016

LuxLeaks trial: timeline

Source: Comité de soutien à Antoine Deltour

October 2010 Antoine Deltour quits PwC – Upon departure he is appalled by the discovery of the tax rulings, which he finds while copying some training documents.

Summer 2011 In touch with Edouard Perrin – Deltour is contacted by French journalist Edouard Perrin.

May 2012 French TV program Cash Investigation – Current affairs TV program Cash Investigation broadcasts an episode entitled Tax Havens: the little secrets of the big companies, based on Deltour’s files. PwC files a complaint.

November 2014 LuxLeaks publications – Several international outlets and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) disclose hundreds of tax agreements that have been arranged by Luxembourg tax authorities on behalf of a number of multinational companies.

December 2014 Deltour is charged by Luxembourg authorities – Deltour faces a 5-year jail sentence and a fine of up to €1,250,000 for leaking the documents.

January 2015 Raphaël Halet is charged – The ex-head of a PwC tax process support team is charged over the leak of the second set of documents used in Luxleaks.

February 2015 European Parliament’s enquiry – The LuxLeaks scandal prompts the creation of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings (TAXE committee) to investigate tax rulings and aggressive avoidance in the EU.

March 2015 European Commission’s Tax Transparency Package – The EC proposes transparency measures to fight tax avoidance, notably the automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states. The OECD secretary general welcomes the EC’s package.

April 2015 Édouard Perrin is charged – The Luxembourg authorities charge him over his alleged role in the second set of leaks.

June 2015 European Citizen Prize 2015 – This European Parliament’s prize rewards citizens who have contributed to European cooperation and the promotion of common values.

September 2015 Sakharov Prize 2015 nomination – Antoine Deltour (together with whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Stéphanie Gibaud) is nominated for the prize. It will eventually be awarded to Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi.

6 October 2015 Agreement on the automatic exchange of tax rulings – EU Ministers for Economy and Finance agree on the automatic exchange of tax rulings.

21 October 2015 Some tax rulings deemed illegal – The legality of several tax rulings is disputed by the EC as they could violate EU state aid rules

25 October 2015 TAXE Special Committee report – The report recommends measures to make corporate taxes in the EU fairer and more transparent, and promotes a better protection for whistle-blowers. On 26 November, the Committee’s mandate is renewed for another 6 months.

26 April 2016 Trial in Luxembourg starts – Testimony of a PwCs’ representative who led an internal investigation to identify Deltour, Halet and Perrin. The witness says that "the documents were easily accessible" due to a bug in the internal computer network and that it was possible that "these documents could be reached by chance".

26 April 2016 Support of Michel Sapin, France’s Finance Minister – "I would also like to express all our solidarity to Antoine Deltour. I asked this morning the Ambassador of France in Luxembourg and the Consulate General to help him if necessary during this difficult time in which he defends the general interest and during which he has nevertheless to stand before a criminal court in Luxembourg. Thanks to [Deltour], we could put an end to the opacity that prevented European countries to know the exact tax situation of a number of large companies in Luxembourg."

27 April 2016 Trial, second hearing – Testimony of the Luxembourg police commissioner in charge of the investigation. It confirms Deltour’s statements that he acted alone and without financial counterpart. First three defendants’ witnesses: Fabio De Masi, German MEP and TAXE Committee member; Benoît Majerus, associate professor at the University of Luxembourg; and Deltour’s partner.

28 April 2016 Trial, third hearing – Last three defendants’ witnesses. Deltour’s former boss between July 2012 and January 2016, the head of department at the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Economiques in Lorraine; Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Justice coordinator at Eurodad; and Sven Giegold MEP. Giegold says the creation of the TAXE Committee is a direct consequence of the whistleblowers’ revelations: "All political groups in the European Parliament expressed their gratitude to Antoine Deltour. Without this whistleblower, there would be in Europe no changes in practices nor in the law, as secrecy was the basis of the system."

29 April 2016 Trial, fourth hearing – A director of the Luxembourg tax authorities, Guy Heintz, is summoned to the court by Deltour’s lawyer Philippe Penning. Questions about the tax rulings approval process aren’t answered. Heintz declared he can’t refer to "not publicly available" information, because he is a civil servant subject to professional confidentiality and tax secrecy. Hearing of Raphaël Halet. He says the rulings were prepared by PwC and "rubber-stamped" by the Luxembourg tax administration. Halet argues that PwC did not suffer from the LuxLeaks but rather gained new clients.

3 May 2016 Trial, fifth hearing – Deltour and Perrin answer the questions of the judge, the prosecutor, the lawyers. Deltour says his motivation was not money but a "civic duty to inform the public higher than this obligation of confidentiality".

4 May 2016 Trial, sixth hearing – Pleadings of the lawyers of PwC, Halet and Perrin. PwC’s lawyer says Deltour and Halet’s status as whistle-blowers is "an ex post facto invention made up in view of their defence needs". He also says Deltour’s intention was not to copy training documents but to misappropriate PwC’s know-how.

10 May 2016 Trial, seventh hearing – Pleading of Deltour’s lawyers. Penning says Deltour could have sold the documents. Instead he’s become the symbol of small taxpayers’ David-versus-Goliath fight against big corporations tax avoidance. Bourdon tells judges they have an appointment with History: "You will write an important page for Europe and for European law. Give to Antoine his honor back, recognize his gesture. There will be no purer whistleblower than him for decades". The prosecutors seek a 18-month sentence for Deltour and Halet. He says Deltour "committed a theft, no more. He is a common law offender, not a whistleblower".

11 May 2016 Trial, final hearing – Defendants’ lawyers regret prosecutors have ignored the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Perrin’s lawyer says either his client "is acquitted in Luxembourg or he will get Luxembourg being condemned in Strasbourg by the ECHR". In his final statement Deltour says: "My approach when I copied the tax rulings was already a citizen approach. Admittedly, I did not know then what I would do with these documents; I copied them because they hurt my conscience. It is not about ex post "intellectual acrobatics"; I confirm that it is impossible to put a precise date on a gradual reflection. I also reaffirm that my outrage at some tax practices dates back from October 13th 2010. As I kept saying, this was one of the reasons why I resigned (from PwC)."

29 June 2016 Judgement to be announced.

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