Former PwC employee charged over leaked tax documents

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - A Luxembourg judge has charged a former PricewaterhouseCoopers employee suspected of leaking documents about secret corporate tax deals with theft and giving away business secrets, the Luxembourg public prosecutor's office said on Saturday.

It said in a statement an examining magistrate had also charged the unidentified person on Friday with breaching professional confidentiality and fraudulent access to a computerised data system.

The accused is suspected of stealing thousands of pages of documents on secret corporate tax dealings that were given to journalists, according to a source familiar with the case.

He was also charged with money-laundering but the prosecutor's office gave no detail of that allegation.

PwC Luxembourg could not immediately be reached for comment.

Luxembourg prosecutors opened an investigation into what has become known as the Luxleaks affair after PwC filed a complaint in June 2012.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said in November that more than 300 companies had secured secret deals from Luxembourg to slash their tax bills.

It quoted leaked documents, many relating to clients of the Luxembourg branch of PwC, a leading tax adviser.

The group of investigative journalists said the companies appeared to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes, based on a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents.

Luxembourg's finance ministry has said its system for issuing advance rulings to companies, outlining how the tax authority would treat their transactions, was "compliant with international and national law".

Another report by the ICIJ this week said Walt Disney Co , commodities group Koch Industries and others agreed deals in Luxembourg that could have delivered huge tax savings.

A Koch spokesman said Koch companies paid taxes in accordance with applicable laws. Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha said the ICIJ report was deliberately misleading.