Antoine Deltour, Luxembourg 2014

Antoine Deltour, Luxembourg 2014

Antoine Deltour was the main source in the famous 2014 Luxembourg Leaks which revealed the massive tax avoidance schemes of over three hundred companies that, during that time, based themselves in Luxembourg.

Antoine Deltour copied and leaked files by the professional service company PricewaterhouseCoopers, which he worked for, that revealed Luxembourg tax rulings. The company used these rulings to create benefits for its clients.

PwC filed a complaint against Deltour and Luxembourg started prosecuting. Deltour received a very high amount of support from politics, public figures and the general public and even was awarded the European Citizens’ Prize by the European Parliament.

After appeal by Deltour and others involved he was still sentenced in the beginning of 2017 to a 6-month suspended prison sentence and a 1500 € fine.

Deltour’s role as a whistleblower has been very important for Europe since his activity has played a major role in creating new international tax laws.

Brigitte Heinisch, Germany 2004

Brigitte Heinisch, Germany 2004

Brigitte Heinisch worked as a care-worker for the Berlin based and city-owned company Vivantes that ran different homes, mainly in the field of elderly care.

During her work, she immediately got see how the company deliberately ignored the fact that the sector was completely under-staffed which led to appalling conditions for residents (some were tied to their beds and left to lie in their own feces for hours) and orders were given to hide these facts by forging reports where understaffing was not mentioned and treatments or care were noted down that never happened.

In 2004, she blew the whistle by starting a legal process against her employer. She lost the case due to apparent lack of evidence and Vivantes immediately sacked her. She went through another three German courts and the European Court of Human Rights that decided that her right to free speech had been violated (in 2011). Following this decision, the Berlin labour court awarded her 90,000 € in compensation.

Rudolf Elmer, Switzerland 2008

Rudolf Elmer, Switzerland 2008

Rudolf Elmer was a former employee of the swiss bank Julius Bär and worked for them in different positions, his latest being stationed in the Caribbeans where he was overseeing the bank’s regional activities. There he got to see how the bank was involved in tax evasion schemes using offshore tactics that apparently helped their clients to avoid billions in taxes. He was layed off in 2002 before his whistleblowing activities.

He started leaking secret documents off the bank detailing this information immediately after. His case is very interesting because he was one first European whistleblowers to work together with the organisation WikiLeaks to make the information public in 2008.

After this activity he faced many legal battles with his former employer and the Swiss state in regards to his whistleblower activity but still continues to campaign for whistleblower rights and against tax evasion and illegal banking activities.

Libor Michalek, Czech Republic 1996 / 2010

Libor Michalek, Czech Republic 1996 / 2010

Libor Michalek from the Czech Republic was involved in two cases of Whistleblowing, first in the mid 1990s and then again in 2010.

In 1996 he exposed misappropriation by the Czech National Property Fund relating to a building project. He worked  as a broker for the entity during that time and was subsequently fired.

Later, in 2010 he uncovered illegal activities by the Czech Environment Ministry that wired money to a Czech parliamentary party by exaggerating the budget of a public water treatment project. During that time he was working as the director of the Czech State Environment Fund. He was let off there too right after. He was able to win a court case in connection to the affair in 1996 and also helped other people that lost money in the incident by getting them compensation. He returned to the State Environmental Fund in 2011 and later became a Senator in Czech politics.

He has received two prizes for his whistleblowing activities and fight against corruption (Endowment Fund Against Corruption and Charter 77 Foundation).

Toni Fernandes, UK 2000

Toni Fernandes, UK 2000

Toni Fernandes was a chief financial officer at a international telecommunications company called Netcom Consultants in the UK.

Around 2000 he discovered that the chief executive of the firm he was working for had spent over 300,000 £ of the company’s money without disclosing or documenting it. Fernandes was laid off after he started to make the case public to the company’s board of advisers but later received compensation of approx. 290,000 £ by an employment tribunal.

This case is mainly viewed as a positive example for whistleblowers in Europe since the whistleblower was actually rewarded for his action and not only punished like in other cases where people stood up to unjust behaviour and lost their jobs without any compensation or even endured other hardships.