By Gordon Schnell
Late Friday, French power and transportation company Alstom
S.A. was sentenced to pay a $772 million fine for violating the Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act (FCPA) through its payment of millions of dollars in secret
bribes to government officials across the globe. This follows the company's December 2014
guilty plea to the charges. The 9-figure
payout represents the largest criminal fine ever imposed for foreign
bribery. See DOJ
According to the company's own admissions,
Alstom paid bribes to...
Richard Pike and Yulia Tosheva*
Illicit trade in goods can be a profitable enterprise for unscrupulous suppliers. Customers may pay a premium for goods thought to come from a particular source without realising that they are getting a cheaper, lower quality alternative. Such deception can be hard to identify even if the customer is a sophisticated public body.
This is illustrated very well in a case from last week that shows how foreign nationals can play an important role in exposing wrongdoing (and also, in some cases, earn financial rewards themselves).
I am going to Switzerland on Monday at the invitation of a Swiss bank to present to their stsff on the subject of whistleblowing - Is this a sign of changing times? It is a very positive move and is to be commended. Of course, some cynics will claim it is a charade, but I am delighted to be taking part and I will keep you all informed of the outcome.
I am able to state on this blog the bank is not UBS, but just how helpful could a whistleblower have been to UBS?
We are not all bad, we have some positives?
One of the speakers at the 2010 Offshore Alert Conference was Ruedi Elmer. On 21st January this year he was arrested by the Swiss authorities for breaching SWISS Bank Secrecy laws. He spent the next six months in prison without charge. He was not allowed visits from his wife, as she too became a suspect. At one point the authorities sought to have him placed into a psychiatric hospital. He survived, he remains the subject of an investigation, but there are serious question marks about the conduct of the Swiss authorities. Ruedi has challenged them and all being well, he will...
Whistleblowing's not for everyone! In the event you are thinking about joining the whistleblowers union, you may wish to read some of the material within this blog; ask questions of people who have themselves blown the whistle; secure an understanding of the potential impact upon you, your family, your health, your wealth and understand how it may damage your future career prospects. There are not many places where potential whistleblowers in the financial services industry can draw upon advice, guidance and, in the event they become a whistleblower, support. Hopefully this blog and those...
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program is barely a year old, but already it has become a powerful vehicle for pursuing securities law violations, including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Even before the whistleblower program’s rules were finalized in May, the SEC had begun to investigate aggressively some whistleblower claims. I’ve been representing whistleblowers for more than 20 years and know well how easy it is for government agencies to close the door on whistleblowers. But at the SEC, those doors are wide open. We’ve been pleased and...