On Friday, January 6th 2017, the National Whistleblower Center filed an Amicus Brief before the Tenth Circuit in Genberg v. Porter. The Genberg case deals with the definition of reasonable belief under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). SOX requires whistleblowers to have a reasonable belief that a violation has happened or might happen in the future in order to be protected. Consequently, the standard for reasonable belief has wide-reaching consequences for whistleblowers reporting on corporate fraud and misconduct. The principal author of the brief, Stephen M. Kohn, writes about the case below:

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Today, the NWC’s Executive Director Stephen Kohn will take part in the “For Every Truth There Is a Source: Protecting Whistleblowers and Journalistic Sources” conference in Belgrade, Serbia. This international conference, hosted by the Serbian whistleblower advocacy group Pištaljkaa (The Whistle), and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Information runs from Thursday the 27th through Friday the 28th of October.

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“Defend Trade Secrets Act” Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. May 11, 2016. Today, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which includes major whistleblower reforms.

The Act contains strong and much needed protections for corporate whistleblowers, establishing immunity for employees who disclose trade secrets to the government as part of a whistleblower case. The Act sets forth clear procedures employees can follow to obtain this immunity, and requires all employers to notify their employees of these rights.
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In response to the Panama Papers — the more than ten million leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, that exposed illicit financial activity and tax evasion through the use of anonymous offshore shell companies — the White House announced on May 6th that it would end the use of anonymous corporations in the United States and require disclosure of beneficial owners when foreigners deposit money or buy assets in the United States.

The White House announced that it plans to:
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In a statement before the House Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles Grassley strongly opposed efforts by high-powered corporate lobbyists to undermine the False Claims Act.  This Act has proven to be the most effective whistleblower law in the United States, providing protection and compensation to more whistleblowers then any other law, and triggering civil and criminal investigations.  These investigations have recovered over $30 billion from the most corrupt government contractors, who try to use their influence to illegally profit from lucrative government contracts. 
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Originally published at Corporate Compliance Insights on June 3, 2014 by Guest Columnist Donna Boehme.  

Recently I’ve had a few epiphanies about corporate whistleblowers (are we ever going to find a better term for this?), and the most striking is this:

Many are accidental.

My month of whistleblower observations includes (i) a striking column by a former JPMorgan executive, “5 Terrible Things I Learned as a Corporate Whistleblower”1, (ii) a visit in the North York Moors to the home of the former head of risk for the UK’s HBOS bank and (iii) a fascinating keynote session with the former CEO of Japan’s Olympus Corporation at the recent Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) European conference in London.
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Washington, D.C. May 28, 2015. Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, issued the following statement today regarding the role of whistleblowers in the FIFA bribery scandal:

“Yesterday the world was shocked by well documented revelations of widespread corruption and bribery within FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. According to press accounts, an “insider” within FIFA provided key evidence used by the United States in securing the indictments and some of the convictions that were publicly announced.

“As the FIFA case demonstrates, many U.S. anti-bribery and corruption laws have worldwide application. What is less well known is that non-U.S. citizens have the right to confidentially or anonymously blow the whistle under most of these laws, and fully qualify for large monetary rewards. “
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