Luxembourg charged yesterday (23 April) the French journalist behind the revealing of the so-called LuxLeaks scandal that implicated the small European country in lowering tax rates for multinationals.
“Today, the investigative judge charged a French journalist accused of being a co-author, if not an accomplice in crimes committed by a former PwC employee,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement without naming the journalist.
A court source confirmed that the French journalist is Edouard Perrin, who first broke the story in 2012 in a programme on the state-owned France 2 TV station.
The scandal did not really erupt until last November, when newspapers poured over 28,000 pages of documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), revealing the full scale of the tax breaks won by 340 companies.
The LuxLeaks scandal exposed deals that saved some of the world’s largest companies, including Apple, IKEA and Pepsi, billions of dollars in taxes while Jean-Claude Juncker — now new president of the European Commission — was Luxembourg’s prime minister.
Perrin is the third person charged in Luxembourg after two former PwC employees, including Antoine Deltour, who has been accused of having stolen documents from the accounting firm before he left in 2010.
The ICIJ trove contained many more documents, and not only from PwC but other accountancy and law firms involved in obtaining secret “tax rulings” that lowered tax rates for companies to as little as one percent (see background).
Luxembourg authorities resumed investigations after the ICIJ released its documents, leading to Deltour being charged in December 2014 for violation of professional secrecy and wrongfully accessing a database.
A Frenchman was charged in January in connection with an apparent second leak of documents from PwC.
A source familiar with the probe said Perrin was charged in relation to the second leak of documents.
Perrin won the Louise Weiss 2012 prize for investigative journalism.