Whistle-blowers

Luxleaks journalist files a complaint against PwC

Edouard Perrin at the court this Thursday.
Edouard Perrin at the court this Thursday.
Guy Jallay

The French journalist accused, then acquitted, during the Luxleaks trial is pursuing the Luxembourg audit firm PwC in court. 

Edouard Perrin, 46, has summoned the Gasperich firm before a tribunal in Metz "for the purpose of revoking an order made on request".

The investigator-in-chief of Elise Lucet, on the investigative TV show 'Cash' investigation (France 2), accuses PwC of having exceeded its rights in the context of its investigation to determine the responsibility of one of its employees in the leak of confidential data.

Home search of an employee

The alleged facts go back to November 2014 a few weeks after the revelations of Luxleaks. 

The metadata of certain documents had allowed the firm to go back to one of its administrative directors Raphael Halet. 

PwC had asked, by application dated November 26, 2014, that the president of the tribunal in Metz order "measures of instruction against its employee residing in France (...) against which it harboured suspicion, by appointing a bailiff to go to his home and draw up the list of documents relating to the activity of the enterprise which he held ", according to the summons, a copy of which has been obtained by the Wort.

Complainant Edouard Perrin and his Paris lawyer Fyodor Rilov intend to demonstrate that the conditions laid down by the code of civil procedure to authorise the investigation "are not met". 

A report by investigative TV show 'Envoyé Spécial' broadcast in October 2016 centres on the search organised at the home of Halet. 

On Friday, November 28, 2014, two gendarmes went to his home - he was hospitalised that day. 

"With them a representative of the company PricewaterhouseCoopers, but also a bailiff, a locksmith and a computer expert," explain the journalists. "With the exception of the gendarmes, all are paid by 'Price'". 

PwC is summoned to appear on November 28 at the court in Metz. The firm has not replied to request for comment.

"A whistleblower, or more broadly, the source of a journalist should not be in the future the victim of a judicial ambush orchestrated by a multinational with the consent of a French magistrate", comments the production house Premières Lignes, employer of Edouard Perrin.

Luxleaks pleas this Thursday

"How could a foreign multinational go to the home of a French citizen and seize his correspondence with a journalist, all assisted by the French public force?", comments again the press agency working for two major French investigative news shows 'Envoyé Spécial' and 'Cash' investigation.

On Thursday morning Luxembourg judges heard the arguments of whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The two Frenchmen are trying in a last bid in Luxembourg to overturn their sentence from March. 

The first was sentenced to six months suspended sentence and a €1,500 fine, the second to a €1,000 fine. The deliberations are set to take place on January 11.

(By Pierre Sorlut, translated by Hannah Brenton, hannah.brenton@wort.lu, +352 4993 728)

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