Major Breakthrough in Worldwide Protection for Whistleblowers
Washington, D.C. December 9, 2014. Today, as part of the U.N. sponsored International Anti-Corruption Day, the National Whistleblower Center issued a report, The Importance of Whistleblower Rewards in Combating International Corruption, endorsing whistleblower reward laws. The Center is calling on government’s around the world to enact whistleblower laws and to model these laws on the highly successful U.S. programs.
The report highlights that since 2011 over 1000 whistleblowers from 82 separate countries have already made confidential disclosures to U.S. authorities under the American anti-corruption whistleblower reward laws. These laws permit foreign nationals to file confidential claims in the United States, including claims based on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law designed to combat international bribery of government officials.
Since 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has paid non-U.S. citizens over $30 million U.S. Dollars in whistleblower rewards. The names and the countries of origin of these international whistleblowers are kept strictly confidential to protect the informants.
“The U.S. reward programs are filling the void caused by a lack of international whistleblower protections. Until other countries enact effective laws, whistleblowers around the world will continue to face harsh retaliation,” stated Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.
“It is troubling that whistleblowers have to come to the United States for protection, while their home countries have ignored their plight, or participated in the retaliation,” Kohn added.
In an attempt to aid international whistleblowers, the National Whistleblower Center called upon anti-corruption NGOs to sponsor trainings for potential informants who may qualify under U.S. laws.
In a separate report issued by the Chief of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Whistleblower Office, the Commission strongly supported the efforts of international whistleblowers to obtain protection under the U.S. laws, where applicable. “We hope that awards like this one [a large multi-million dollar reward given to an international whistleblower] will incentivize company and industry insiders, or others who may have knowledge of possible federal securities law violations, both in the U.S. and abroad, to come forward and report their information promptly to the Commission.”
Since 2011, 1136 whistleblowers from around the world have filed whistleblower reward claims in the United States.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: 2014 Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program