Whistleblowers to receive legal protections
Luxembourg is getting closer to extending legal protection to people inside government and businesses who report wrongdoing a decade after a massive tax avoidance scandal uncovered by whistleblowers.
The new bill presented to Parliament on Wednesday, two years after a similar European Union directive, aims to define the rights and obligations of whistleblowers, the Justice Ministry said. The new protection would allow workers to report legal violations they witness, even if it involves sensitive information.
The law introduced by Justice Minister Sam Tanson would create whistleblower protections for persons who have reasonable grounds to believe that their information on violations is true and have followed guidelines for reporting wrongdoing either inside or outside their organisation.
The question of when to protect people from retaliation after they report misdeeds has bubbled in Luxembourg in the aftermath of a French journalist first reporting in 2012 about the Grand Duchy's government giving huge tax breaks to some of the world's largest corporations including Apple, Ikea and Pepsi.
The so-called LuxLeaks revelations, which exploded into public attention in 2014, prompted the European Union's crackdown on tax avoidance by global firms.
A French court in 2018 upheld a warrant allowing authorities to search the home of a PwC Luxembourg employee, Raphaël Halet, who provided journalist Édouard Perrin with key documents including corporate tax declarations.
Luxembourg's highest court three years ago overturned the conviction of another LuxLeaks whistleblower, Antoine Deltour, and granted him protection. He had been convicted for stealing tax documents from PwC.