The Economic Community of West African States’, or ECOWAS, recently held a weeklong anti-corruption meeting in Monrovia, Liberia. Attendees included 13 West African countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Arms, and international partners. As Tunde Ajisomo, ECOWAS ambassador to Liberia noted, “Fighting corruption is everybody’s business, but we need to put in place

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

An article written by Bradley Birkenfeld appears in the Spring 2010 issue of World Policy Journal. The “Crime + Corruption” issue examines how corruption occurs, its effect on society, and how to stop it. Birkenfeld’s article, “Inside the Cartel,” is displayed in the “Upfront” section of the journal, which gives readers first-hand insight into corruption schemes across the globe.
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As Richard Renner wrote in the previous post, Transparency International (TI) just released their “Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector (GCR).” In it, more than 75 experts examine a wide range of corruption issues around the world.    

In this post, I would like to introduce several whistleblowing issues around the world based on the report.    

The report emphasizes that “recognizing the role of whistleblowers” is one of key elements of good corporate governance, mentioning “employees are the single most important group of actors capable of detecting corporate fraud and as such they represent an extraordinarily important pillar in the system of checks and balances that comprise corporate governance.” 


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Stephen M. Kohn in MontenegroStephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), is in Montenegro this week calling for enactment of whistleblower protections as a key component of transparency.

Kohn is traveling to Montenegro under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State. Today, the on-line journal Vijesti is running an article in Croatian about Kohn’s visit to Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital.

According to the Vijesti article, Kohn is saying that efforts to expose corruption in government and in businesses depend on protecting whistleblowers. A translation of the Vijesti article is available in the continuation of this blog entry.


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