International Whistleblower

The Christian Science Monitor offers an editorial that comes close to calling it the year of the whistleblower.

Congress has yet to determine the guilt or innocence of President Donald Trump over his alleged wrong behavior with Ukraine. Yet one thing is sure: The world has witnessed the powerful impact of a whistleblower calling out his or her boss.

They also offer a nice roundup of what is happening worldwide.

In October, the European Parliament approved a directive to protect from retaliation employees who report crime, corruption, and public health dangers from retaliation. Countries in the European Union have two years to implement the law. The mood in Europe shifted after a French accountant, Antoine Deltour, exposed widespread tax evasion by multinational businesses operating through shell companies in Luxembourg. Despite attempts to punish him for his actions, he endured. “The worst thing for a whistleblower,” Mr. Deltour said, “is not to be heard. The world then makes no sense.”

In February, Australia passed a new standard for whistleblower protection. Also this year, Lebanon and Tunisia became the first Middle East countries to pass such laws. And in June, the Group of 20, made up of leading rich and developing nations, further cemented a global norm by endorsing a set of principles for “effective” protection of whistleblowers. 

 FT: Whistleblowers fare poorly at accounting firms

The Financial Times spoke to 20 former employees of major accounting firms for a November 20 story on how the companies treat whistleblowers. Former staff from EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC said they were subject to “harassment, bullying and discrimination.” (Note: FT has a paywall.)


Continue Reading “The world has witnessed the powerful impact of a whistleblower”

A provisional rule approved in March by the European Commission and member countries ensures “robust” protection for whistleblowers, according to the agency’s response to a letter from the National Whistleblower Center (NWC).

Click for EU whistleblower video

Under the proposed rule, whistleblowers would be permitted to report wrongdoing to outside authorities before reporting to their company or agency internal review program. Earlier versions required internal reporting first, which the NWC believes would interfere with the right of employees to confidentially report suspected crimes.

The new rule specifically addresses that issue, wrote Georgia Georgiadou, deputy head of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Policy program in a letter to Stephen M. Kohn of the NWC.

In particular as regards the agreed rules on reporting channels, whistleblowers are encouraged to report first internally, if the breach they want to reveal can be effectively addressed within their organisation and they consider that there is no risk of retaliation. They may also report directly to the competent authorities as they see fit, in light of the circumstances of the case.
Continue Reading EU Commission responds to whistleblowers asking for protection: We’ve got your back

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    

Washington, DC – July 21, 2016 — The  (ELI) and the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) have announced an upcoming seminar series on Global Wildlife Whistleblowers, scheduled for early 2017.  The first seminar in the series will explore enabling whistleblowers around the world to improve the enforcement of over 44 wildlife laws. The second seminar will address technical skills for lawyers seeking to represent wildlife whistleblowers. The seminars are currently scheduled for February 2nd, 2017 and February 16th, 2017.
Continue Reading Upcoming Global Wildlife Whistleblower Seminar Series

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

The National Whistleblower Center held a training seminar today for a group of female Afghan Members of Parliament. The training was part of the NWC’s outreach to improve protection for whistleblowers globally and was sponsored by the International Visitor Leadership Program of the U. S. State Department. The training took place in Washington, D.C. The goal of this session was to strengthen the capacities of Afghan women Parliamentarians who have been spearheading transparency and good governance efforts in their country.

The NWC presented information on advocacy, education, assistance for whistleblowers, and efforts to make the public and policymakers more aware of the need for whistleblower protections and their importance in the fight against corruption.
Continue Reading Strong Whistleblower Protection is Key to Fighting Corruption