The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced a whistleblower award to an anonymous overseas foreign national of half a million dollars.
The award is the latest in a long line of awards made by the SEC, after it has has reported more than $2bn in monetary sanctions from recent actions brought by whistleblowers.
The SEC said in a statement it has paid over $300 million in rewards to those that shop tax evaders ot the US government. Of that amount, based on publicly available information, since the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, over $40m has been paid to whistleblowers that are based outside of the US.
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), foreign nationals are given full protection under American law for reporting bribes that they have witnessed. These whistleblowers are also qualified for significant financial rewards if the violations lead to sanctions exceeding $1m and have protection against retaliation.
"Whistleblowers are now the backbone of the international anti-bribery laws," said US whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn. "The law is clear. The FCPA whistleblower reward law has transnational application. Whistleblowers from any country in the world can anonymously and confidentially report foreign bribery and other securities violations and qualify for a large financial reward. Over 3,000 foreign whistleblowers have already entered the SEC's confidential whistleblower program."
Kohn is a qui tam attorney who is a founding partner of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. The primary litigation focus of these whistleblower attorneys includes representing whistleblowers under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, qui tam reward laws, the False Claims Act, SEC whistleblower laws, and IRS whistleblowers.
In 2012, the firm obtained the largest qui tam whistleblower reward given to a single individual in history ($104m to UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld) and currently represents Danske Bank Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson.
In this video, left, as previously showcased, International Investment conducted a rare and exclusive interview with whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, who as a former banker for Swiss banking giant UBS shared information with the US government and recovered a reported US$15bn in taxes and received US$104m as a reward.
But in a bittersweet story he was also jailed for 31 months by the same government and has, he feels, been made a scapegoat in story that has captivated the world and has Hollywood producers including Oliver Stone looking to bring this to the big screen. In the video Gary Robinson interviews Birkenfeld about his 'crusade' to continue to bring Swiss banks to 'justice' for assisting alleged tax evaders as he launched his book: Lucifer's Banker.