Foreign Corruption Whistleblowers

Three Canadian whistleblowers have been awarded more than $7 million, the first payment of its kind by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

Whistleblower graphic “These individuals voluntarily provided high quality, timely, specific and credible information, which helped advance enforcement actions resulting in monetary payments to the OSC,” according to a statement from the Canadian agency.

To protect the identity of the whistleblowers, the agency did not release names or any information on the cases.

The OSC whistleblower program was established in 2016 and reports that it is the only Canadian securities whistleblower program offering financial awards. The office reported that, as of July 2018, it had received more than 200 tips.

Stephen M. Kohn, director of the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, notes in a statement that the award is a breakthrough for whistleblowers worldwide.

“Canada becomes the first country after the United States to recognize that substantial whistleblower rewards are the key to fraud detection and successful prosecutions,” Kohn wrote. “We hope that other advanced democratic nations follow this lead and enact qui tam laws similar to those in the United States.”  Continue Reading A Canadian whistleblower program targeting financial crime pays off

Whistleblower Protection in EU

The proposed European Parliament directive on whistleblower protection could make it more difficult for individuals to come forward with information about wrongdoing, according to a coalition of transparency and anti-corruption groups.

At issue is a provision that requires employees to report potential crimes and fraud internally before going to regulators and law enforcement.

A letter signed by a range of groups calls on the EU to protect the “free flow of information necessary for responsible exercises of institutional authority.” Disclosures to law enforcement and regulatory agencies provide a “safety net for protecting the public interest and the public’s right to know when organisations are corrupt or fail to take responsibility,” they write.

If this mandatory internal disclosure regime stands, the directive will have abandoned responsible Europeans who raise concerns appropriately to their employers through their supervisors or normal management channels of communication, who disclose information to competent authorities who have the power and mandate to address wrongdoing, or who provide information to the journalists who investigate and report in the public interest. They will suffer. Europe will suffer.

Continue Reading The effort to improve whistleblower protection in Europe will fail unless insiders can seek help from outsiders

From Feb.1 “International Conference on Anticorruption Policies” took place in Attica, Greece on Feb. 1. Sponsored by the Hellenic Anti-Corruption Organization.  Speakers at the meeting included Vladimir Hrle from the European Criminal Bar Association, Ciro Stazzeri from Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Center-Italy, Mia Rupcic of the Antibribery Academy International and George Patoulis, MD, the President of Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and NWC director and Washington-based lawyer Stephen M. Kohn.

Several US whistleblower laws have international applications that have been used to fight fraud and corruption worldwide.

The laws are key to anti-bribery efforts, and insider disclosures have already resulted in millions of dollars in fines in the U.S. and beyond, Washington-based lawyer Stephen M. Kohn told a group of international anti-corruption organizations on Friday, February 1.

The “International Conference on Anticorruption Policies” took place in Attica, Greece and was sponsored by the Hellenic Anti-Corruption Organization. Kohn, who is director of the National Whistleblowers Center, was one of the speakers.

Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and IRS anti-fraud laws, the False Claims Act (FCA) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) can all be applied internationally.

But whistleblowers need to be rewarded and protected from retribution, Kohn said.  He has urged the European Parliament to strengthen its proposed whistleblower directive to protect the identity of anonymous whistleblowers.

U.S. whistleblower programs allow for the protection of witnesses and detection of corrupt activities, including bribes paid to politicians by multi-national corporations, Kohn said. Penalties act to deter fraud and bribery.

Without these programs, the costs of exposing fraud and bribery is prohibitive, Kohn said.

Continue Reading U.S. laws and strong international whistleblower programs could bolster anti-corruption efforts worldwide    

Danske-Bank-Whistleblower-Howard-Wilkinson. <br>Source: www.kkc.com
Danske Bank Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson. Source: www.kkc.com

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2018. Attorneys for the Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson announced that he will testify before both the Danish and European Parliaments.  Wilkinson is the former British trader from Danske Bank’s Estonia office who uncovered a massive money-laundering scandal involving billions of dollars flowing out of Russia and other former Soviet states.  Continue Reading Danske Bank Whistleblower to Testify before the Danish and European Parliaments

International-Map-of-SEC-Crimes-Reported-foreign-corrupt-practice-act
International tips are crucial to the SEC’s law enforcement capabilities. From 2011 to 2017, the SEC received a total of 2,655 whistleblowers from 113 countries. This map shows the countries as well as the frequency of those tips.

Washington, D.C. August 30, 2018. Today, the National Whistleblower Center (“NWC”) released a report analyzing data from Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (“FCPA”) cases since the law was passed in 1977, including several cases decided in 2018.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is one of the most important whistleblower laws, especially for foreign nationals and for combatting corruption and bribery occurring on foreign soil. The FCPA prohibits companies issuing stock in the U.S. – and their subsidiaries – from bribing foreign officials to win contracts and other business. Continue Reading The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is an Effective Tool to Stop Illegal Activity and Catch Illicit Profits

Washington-dc-buildingConcern expressed over Report’s impact on pending EU whistleblower directive

WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 20, 2018—The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and the European Center for Whistleblowers Rights has made a formal request to the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney, that the BoE remove a misleading report on U.S. whistleblower reward laws from its website within 10 working days.

The letter to Governor Carney states: “We are concerned that continued use of the BoE Report as a policy reference will only serve to inhibit the implementation of effective anti-fraud laws in the U.K. Many of its assertions […] are simply false.”

Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Requests Bank of England Withdraw ‘Deleterious’ Whistleblower Report

National Whistleblower Center at World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings
NWC Intern Karina Coltun Schneider, right, poses for a picture with African Union Ambassador Chihombori-Quao, center, and a fellow civil society organization delegate, left.

Youth worldwide are speaking out against corruption. At the 2018 World Bank Group and IMF Civil Society Policy Forum, the African Union Ambassador to the United States and delegates from over 100 civil society organizations representing over 40 countries discussed anti-corruption and ethics programs engaging youth in advocacy for good governance. These programs encourage young adults to hold their representatives accountable for accepting bribes from international companies.

Continue Reading Engaging African Youth in Anti-Corruption Efforts

Cites FCPA & FCA as powerful detection and enforcement tools

In remarks delivered to a group of Italian and American leaders and law enforcement officials on Thursday in Rome, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch highlighted the powerful tools the United States is using to fight international fraud and corruption. Lynch also gave assurances to the group that the United States is committed to fighting corruption noting that “we are working tirelessly to detect corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice – no matter how powerful the actors, no matter how complex the crimes, and no matter where the crimes take place.” Continue Reading Attorney General Lynch: U.S. Committed to Fighting International Fraud and Corruption

The following statement was released by the United Nations:

Message from UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on International Anti-Corruption Day

9 December 2015

Global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically. Where once bribery, corruption and illicit financial flows were often considered part of the cost of doing business, today corruption is widely — and rightly — understood as criminal and corrosive. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.

Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials.

Corruption exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest.  Continue Reading Statement of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on International Anti-Corruption Day

NWC Urges President to Endorse Whistleblowing as Part of the Day’s Celebration

Washington, D.C. December 7, 2015.  The United Nations has formally set-aside December 9th as International Anti-Corruption Day.  As part of Anti-Corruption Day, the National Whistleblower Center is strongly urging President Obama to publicly praise the contributions of whistleblowers.

“Whistleblowers are the key source of information on fraud and corruption.  However, in countries around the world they face retaliation.  President Obama should strongly endorse whistleblowing on Anti-Corruption Day as the key method for detecting corruption,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.Image Continue Reading UN Sets December 9th as International Anti-Corruption Day