Four years after the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed take steps to streamline the FBI whistleblower program, the agency has not taken action, according to a program review.

The Government Accountability Office issued recommendations in 2015 to make improvements like shortening the time it takes to process whistleblower complaints.

So far, the agency has not:
  • Clarified regulations
  • Given complainants timeframes for returning decisions
  • Developed an oversight mechanism to ensure compliance with requirements
  • Assessed the impact of efforts to reduce the duration of complaints or requirements


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The New York Times was blunt in its series on crime at sea: “Few places on the planet are as lawless as the high seas, where egregious crimes are routinely committed with impunity.”

Whistleblowers are key to exposing those crimes, including illegal dumping from ships, according speakers at a Tuesday webinar broadcast from Washington. The panel looked at the role private citizens and whistleblowers play in the detecting off-shore crimes, including those that violate a law known as the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).

“Enforcing, let alone detecting violations on the open ocean– with how vast it is — is just inherently difficult,” said Anton DeStefano, Lieutenant Commander of the U.S Coast Guard’s environmental law division. He noted that we was speaking for himself, not the agency.


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Estonian Financial Supervision Authority logo
Seal of the Estonian EBFS

Danske Bank has been ordered to close its troubled Estonian branch before the end of 2019.  Estonian regulators noted on February 19 that the bank violated anti-money laundering regulations for many years by allowing high-risk money-laundering clients to make suspicious transactions through the bank.

In addition, they stated that Danske Bank misled the Estonian public authorities by providing them with inadequate information and thus actually hampered their investigation, according to a statement from the Estonian Board of Financial Supervision.

Danske Bank announced the same day that it is also closing banks in Latvia and Lithuania and Russia.

In a related move, the European Union Banking Authority has opened a formal investigation “into a possible breach of Union law by the Estonian Financial Services Authority and the Danish Financial Services Authority in connection with money laundering activities linked to Danske Bank and its Estonian branch in particular.”

Here’s a roundup of reaction and reporting:

“This is a lesson to corporate banks.  Danske Bank made a grave error when it forced Mr. Wilkinson to sign a restrictive non-disclosure agreement, instead of working with Mr. Wilkinson in trying to fix the problems,” according to a statement from Kohn.
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On January 17, 2017, the SEC issued its latest sanction, a $340,000 penalty against BlackRock Inc., (NYSE: BLK — the world’s largest investment management firm) for interfering with the right of its employees to obtain whistleblower rewards under the SEC’s Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower reward program. SEC Rule 21F-17 was adopted in response to the whistleblower reward provisions found in the Dodd-Frank Act. Rule 21F-17 forbids a covered employer from taking “any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation.”
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On December 29, 2016, the Justice Department announced that it had reached the final resolutions under the Swiss Bank Program. The Swiss Bank Program was put in place after a massive tax evasion scheme at Swiss bank UBS was exposed by Bradley Birkenfeld. The former international banker and wealth manager with UBS recently released Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy detailing his journey as he took on the Swiss banking industry.
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On December 29, 2016, the Justice Department announced that it had reached the final resolutions under the Swiss Bank Program. The Swiss Bank Program was put in place after a massive tax evasion scheme at Swiss bank UBS was exposed by Bradley Birkenfeld. The former international banker and wealth manager with UBS recently released Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy detailing his journey as he took on the Swiss banking industry.
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The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it obtained more than $4.7 Billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving fraud against the government. This amount marks the third highest annual recovery in the history of the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA brings in a yearly average of $4 billion with a total of $53.1 billion recovered since 1986.
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The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it obtained more than $4.7 Billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving fraud against the government. This amount marks the third highest annual recovery in the history of the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA brings in a yearly average of $4 billion with a total of $53.1 billion recovered since 1986. 
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An attempt by large government contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to undermine the False Claims Act (FCA) was beaten back by whistleblower advocates. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision today in the case of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby ruling that breaches to the confidentiality (or seal) provision of a case brought under the FCA will not result in an automatic dismissal of the case.
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