Two former employees of an accounting firm have been found guilty of leaking thousands of secret documents to a journalist investigating sweetheart tax deals granted by Luxembourg to big foreign firms.

A local Luxembourg court convicted ex-PwC workers Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet of stealing private documents. They were sentenced Wednesday to suspended prison terms: 12 months for Deltour and nine months for Halet.

Journalist and co-defendant Edouard Perrin, who used the materials dubbed "LuxLeaks" for a series of exposes, was acquitted in the case.

The three were regarded as heroes by many for exposing Luxembourg's willingness to award large tax breaks to leading multinational companies.

The LuxLeaks scandal also proved a major embarrassment for EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was Luxembourg's prime minister when the deals were made.