Foreign Corruption Whistleblowers

The following is a guest blog by Bojan Bajic.*

Sarajevo Whistleblower Week (SWW) 2015, which occurred in the last week of May in Sarajevo was seen in a light of “clash” of two approaches: the first one representing pro-active American approach providing a “incentive based protection” to a whistleblower and the second passive European anti-retaliation whistleblower protection.

A special guest of this SWW event was Mr. Stephen M. Kohn, partner at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP and the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center from Washington D.C., who gave his lecture on how whistleblowers from around the world can use the U.S. laws to expose corruption: “Breakthrough in Protecting International Whistleblowers: Non-United States Citizens Now Entitled to Whistleblower Protections and Rewards.”  
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Sepp Blatter’s announced plan to step down as FIFA’s president to allow him the opportunity to remain “in a position to focus on profound reforms” flies in the face of the willful ignorance of the massive fraud and corruption he has exhibited for the last decade and a half. The manner and method of the announcement makes clear that meaningful reform is not the goal. Not a single concrete proposal or guidance followed. Instead, FIFA’s audit and compliance committee chairman, Domenico Scala, glumly mentions, “reforms will include fundamental changes to the way the organization is structured.” This statement is so lacking in substance as to render it meaningless.
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Breakthrough For International Whistleblowers

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

LIVE INTERNATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWER SEMINAR 

26 MAY 2015

The Luna-Centre for Responsible Democracy is co-sponsoring an important international seminar on how whistleblowers from around the world can use U.S. laws to expose corruption.

“Breakthrough in Protecting International Whistleblowers: Non-United States Citizens Now Entitled to Whistleblower Protections and Rewards” will take place at the

The National Whistleblower Center recently met with legislative aides for Members of the Japanese Diet and a delegation of distinguished leaders from Kazakhstan.  The purpose of these meetings was to educate the foreign officials on how whistleblowers are protected in the United States and the challenges that whistleblowers face.

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center led the meetings.  Mr. Kohn’s presentation included a discussion of the National Whistleblower Center’s recent report “Whistleblower Reward Programs: An International Framework for the Detection of Corruption and Illegal Bribery” which sets forth the framework for a highly successful international whistleblower rewards program. The report also documents how whistleblowers are key to the detection of fraud and misconduct and how reward programs are remarkably successful.
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Sergei Magnitsky
        Sergei Magnitsky

On December 6, 2012 Congress passed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. (Magnitsky Act). The law was inspired by a Russian lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky, detained in 2008 after he blew the whistle on a $230 million tax fraud scheme involving the collaboration of Russian government officials and convicted criminals. He was arrested for his whistleblowing and detained for nearly a year before he was beaten to death in prison.

In October 2012, Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, interviewed Jamison Firestone, the law partner and friend of Sergei Magnitsky. Mr. Firestone related the horrific yet compelling tale of what happened from the time Mr. Magnitsky uncovered the tax fraud until his death at the hands of the Russian authorities. Listen to the interview.

The passing of the Magnitsky Act is a major step forward in the protection of international whistleblowers. This is the first time the U. S. Government has passed a bill in recognition of the hardship and sacrifice of international whistleblowers. This move sets important precedence for the advancement of increased protections for whistleblowers throughout the world. In addition to the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. Congress has significantly enhanced protections for international whistleblowers through the reward provisions applicable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and under the IRS Whistleblower law, which allows foreign nationals to blow the whistle on U.S. tax evaders in other countries.


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Budi SuhartoBudi Suharto (right in photo) visited me at the National Whistleblowers Center today.  Mr. Suharto is the Head of Bilateral Cooperation II Section of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. We discussed how in both the United States and in Indonesia, recent criminal prosecutions of whistleblowers raise a concern that other employees