Monday 22 January 2018

Ireland ranks fifth for corporate whistleblowing

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

IRELAND has climbed to joint fifth on a global list of countries supplying tips and complaints on alleged corporate wrong-doing to an American white-collar crime whistleblowing programme.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank act allows tipsters to receive a reward of up to 30pc of any sanctions collected for voluntarily submitting information that leads to a successful enforcement action by the powerful Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Earlier this year the SEC awarded an "historic" $14m (€10.2m) to a whistleblower whose information led to enforcement action by the commission that recovered substantial investor funds.

The vast majority of the tips, complaints and referrals (TCRs) received by the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) come from the United States.

Last year, Ireland, with nine TCRs, was ranked 8th in a list of non-US states after the UK (74), Canada (46), China (27) and Australia (21).

But this year foreign TCRs rose to 402 of some 3,238 complaints, with Ireland -- which doubled its number to 18 -- is now ranked joint fifth with India.

Legal experts say the rewards on offer could lead to Ireland's first "whistleblower millionaire", but could also expose Irish-based US companies to possible criminal indictments in America.

The Irish Government is currently planning to introduce dedicated whistleblowing legislation here.

The Public Disclosure Bill 2013 provides a legal framework for the protection of workers who are threatened or suffer at work if they make a disclosure.

But the Government says it is not a replacement for existing mandatory reporting regimes nor does it provide a wide-ranging permissive authority for workers to recklessly make false allegations of wrongdoing.

Irish Independent

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