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Photographer: Teri Pengilley for The Guardian

Antoine Deltour

PwC employee who blew the whistle on controversial tax deals

“I could have been fined a million euros,” the Luxleaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour says when reflecting on his ordeal. Since passing information about controversial tax agreements to French journalist Edouard Perrin, the former PwC employee has faced global media attention and two trials. By 2016, more than 215,000 people had signed a petition pledging support for Deltour. It was in 2011 that Deltour first passed documents to Perrin, detailing how companies such as Amazon and Dyson struck (perfectly legal) deals with Luxembourg to avoid cross-border tax. The International Consortium of Journalists used this leaked data to unveil the extent of the tax avoidance in 2014. Many of the multinational companies involved had managed to reduce their tax to near zero by developing complex strategies with the Grand Duchy. The data leak was denounced by Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister, as “the worst attack” ever experienced by his country. Indeed, Deltour grimly acknowledges the immense courage needed on his part. In 2016, he was convicted of theft, receiving a 12-month suspended sentence and a fine of €1,500. Even so, he still insists he would whistleblow again. “Democracy demands information,” Deltour says. “I still believe I acted in the public interest.” In early 2018, Deltour was finally acknowledged as a whistleblower, and his conviction was quashed. But in what Deltour describes as a “smart move”, a €1,000 fine against PwC employee Raphael Halet, who also passed Luxleaks information on, was upheld. “There’s a message there,” Deltour notes. “By recognising me, they’re making out that they’re open. But by condemning Raphael, they’re making sure people think twice before speaking to a journalist.”