SEC Whistleblower Act Curbs Foreign Corrupt Practices such as Bribery and Accounting Cover-Ups
Remember the videotape that surfaced in the spring of 2010 of Sara Ferguson accepting $750,000 in cash in exchange for providing access to her ex husband Prince Andrew of the English royal family? Switch one fact and we get a great fact pattern: If the person paying the $750,000 was a United States company and not an ambitious British tabloid newspaperman, then would that company have committed a crime? Is Fergie a foreign official? Was it to further a business purpose? Did Prince Andrew receive a benefit? What type of companies can the federal government even regulate? (Leaving aside the non-relevant question of how she could be so darn stupid.)
The answers to the questions posed by the Fergie Fact Pattern and perhaps the answer to your questions about SEC whistlbelowers are in the interpretation and application of a federal statute called the Foreign Corrupt Business Practices Act. This section of the web site lays out the requirements such that a payment to an official can rise to the level of an illegal bribe. If you have information about such a payment, you may qualify to be a whistleblower and earn a whistleblower reward for reporting your information to the appropriate feederal enforcement agency.
How the SEC Whistleblower Act Enforces the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The SEC Whistleblower Act also offers whistleblower rewards to those individuals who report original information about violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act whistleblower can receive as a financial reward between 10% and 30% of any penalty imposed by the SEC.
Unfortunately, it is simply wrong to assume that businesses and individuals do not engage in foreign corrupt practices:
- In 2008, Siemens paid $800,000,000 to settle charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- In 2009, KBR/Halliburton paid $579,000,000 to settle charges with the SEC that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
- In 2010, BAE paid to the SEC $400,000,000 in fees to settle allegations that BAE violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The list will only get longer, not shorter. The Department of Justice has eight full time Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecutors and 54 additional Department of Justice prosecutors supplement these eight. The FBI has established a separate office to investigate Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases. Some estimate that there are over 150 active Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations today.
With help on your situtation, request a free consultation to learn more about the Foreign Corrupt Practices act.