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Top five stories you may have missed
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Top five stories you may have missed

by Gabrielle ANTAR 3 min. 18.02.2023
In case you missed them, the Luxembourg Times has selected the best stories of the week for you
Luxleaks whistleblower Raphaël Halet
Luxleaks whistleblower Raphaël Halet
Photo credit: Gerry Huberty

From Luxembourg to the Caymans: the property route

Luxembourg is a crucial lynchpin in a network of offshore companies owning billions worth of property in Europe, many of which are run from exotic locations such as the Cayman Islands, where they pay little tax.

Last week, the Luxembourg Times reported how a flurry of celebrities, including basketball star Magic Johnson and H&M owner Stefan Persson, own real estate worth billions in the UK through Luxembourg companies, many of which are empty shells that have no offices or staff.

A closer look at these structures shows that many holding companies in the Grand Duchy are in turn owned by a parent company in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Jersey, or the US state of Delaware.

Luxembourg's capital clamps down on 'fake residents'   

Authorities in Luxembourg’s capital are removing thousands of ‘fake residents’ from population rolls each year, in a clampdown targeting people who falsely claim to be living in the city to receive higher welfare payments and other financial benefits.

Since last year, new residents must now provide proof of an address in the capital, such as a lease agreement, the council (Ville de Luxembourg, VDL) said, after it expunged almost 5,000 people falsely registered as living in the city from population records in 2020 and 2021.

Fine breached Luxleaks whistleblower human rights - court  

Luxembourg obstructed the freedom of expression of the whistleblower in the Luxleaks scandal, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday, nearly a decade after the notorious tax scandal rocked the Grand Duchy.

Former PwC employee Raphaël Halet had taken his case to the upper chamber of the ECHR, after the Strasbourg-based court in May 2021 ruled that a criminal fine of €1,000 Halet received in Luxembourg for leaking documents to a journalist in 2012 was "proportionate and moderate".

This time, Strasbourg sided with Halet, whose appeal had come with the support of several non-governmental organisations advocating for whistleblowers, tax transparency and freedom of press.

Armenia seeks closer European ties to boost security  

Armenia is seeking a closer relationship with Europe and Luxembourg as it tries to assert itself against neighbouring Azerbaijan where protestors have blockaded tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians in an ongoing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

"We are calling on Luxembourg [and the EU] to impose sanctions on individuals behind the blockade", Armenia's ambassador to Luxembourg, Tigran Balayan, said in an interview with the Luxembourg Times on Monday ahead of a visit by Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn to his country next week.

Iranian protestor is on hunger strike in front of parliament  

An Iranian ex-political prisoner told the Luxembourg Times he has been on hunger strike outside Luxembourg's parliament since Friday after the police closed down his Iranian human rights association's demonstration tent. 

Activists have been protesting for the last eight days to pressure Luxembourg’s government to declare a special military agency defending Iran's regime as a terrorist organisation and to sanction leaders of the Islamic republic. Police had the activists' tent removed ahead of the visit of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. 

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