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Big Win for Corporate Whistleblowers at Supreme Court

 

SOX whistleblower protection covers mutual fund industry


Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Lawson v. FMR, LLC, that contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies are fully protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for corporate whistleblowers.

 

Significantly, in today's decision the Supreme Court explicitly held that investment advisors and other "independent contractors" employed in the mutual fund industry are fully protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's whistleblower provisions. The Supreme Court's ruling reversed a lower court holding excluding the mutual fund industry from protection under Sarbanes-Oxley.

 

In her majority opinion, on page 20, Justice Ginsburg explained that her ruling "avoids insulating the entire mutual fund industry from" the corporate whistleblower law.  Justice Ginsburg also explained that these mutual funds manage $14.7 trillion dollars, on behalf of "nearly 94 million investors."  

 

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, released the following statement regarding the importance of this decision:

 

“This is a big win for corporate whistleblowers.  This is a big win for every person who invests money through mutual funds.  The Supreme Court closed a potentially devastating loop hole in corporate whistleblower protection. By ruling that contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies are fully protected under the corporate whistleblower provisions, the Court has put an end to the popular shell game which large companies use try to silence whistleblowers.”

 

The National Whistleblower Center filed a friend of the court brief before the Supreme Court in this case and has been instrumental in defending the Sarbanes-Oxley Act from corporate attempts to undermine its effectiveness.

 

Mr. Kohn is available for further comment on this decision. Email mjw@whistleblowers.org to set up an interview.

 

Read the decision: Lawson v. FMR, LLC 

Washington Times Reports: FBI Kept Information From 9/11 Commission
Washington, D.C. February 26, 2014.  In an exclusive report, The Washington Times reports that important information regarding the FBI’s counterterrorist achievements was never given to the members 9/11 Commission. The fact that the FBI had placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, was revealed in court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.

 

The Agent responsible for finding and cultivating this source, and successfully thwarting terrorist threats in California, is FBI Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef.  Mr. Youssef was the FBI’s highest ranking counterterrorism official to “blow the whistle” on the FBI’s gross mismanagement of the War on Terror. He was also the highest-ranking FBI agent who is fluent Arabic.  In spite of his qualifications, after the 9/11 attacks the FBI irresponsibly questioned his loyalties due to his national origin and blacklisted him.   When he alerted a Member of Congress and the Director of the FBI to the discrimination he faced, Mr. Youssef was subjected to more severe retaliation, including the denial of promotions, punitive transfers and stripping him of all his prior operational counterterrorism duties, which had resulted in the successful infiltration detailed in today’s Washington Times.  The retaliation against Mr. Youssef continues to this day.

The National Whistleblower Center issued an Action Alert calling on President Obama to give credit to Supervisory Special Agent Youssef for his work in one of the most significant triumphs in the war on terror and to tell the FBI to stop the retaliation against him. Please join with the NWC and take action on this critical issue.

 Take Action!

 Read: EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993


SEC Backs Whistleblowers in Key Court Case

Washington, D.C. Feburary 20, 2014. Today the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an extensive brief and position statement before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging the court to fully protect whistleblowers who make internal disclosures exposing fraud against investors and other violations of securities laws.  Linked here are a copy of the SEC's brief and a copy of a statement by Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC Whistleblower Office. The brief was filed in the case of Liu Meng-Lin v. Siemens AG, case number 13-4385.

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, released the following statement regarding the SEC's action:

"The brief filed today by the SEC marks a fundament shift in the position of the Commission and the whistleblower community. The Commission is backing up its words with action. The Commission's rules recognize the importance of protecting employees who report fraud internally to managers. Practically speaking, most fraud is disclosed through the chain of command and retaliating against employees who report internally has a devastating impact on the enforcement of laws designed to protect shareholders from the unscrupulous wolves of Wall Street.

In filing a powerful and well written position statement supporting whistleblowers who report fraud internally, the SEC is backing up its rules with strong legal action. The SEC has done the right thing in advocating for justice in a whistleblower retaliation case."

Whistleblower Fears UBS Banker Raoul Weil Will Get Sweetheart Deal

National Whistleblowers Center
P.O. Box 25074
Washington, D.C. 20027
http://www.whistleblowers.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Mary Jane Wilmoth
(202) 342-1902
mjw@whistleblowers.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Whistleblower Fears UBS Banker Raoul Weil 
Will Get Sweetheart Deal
 
UBS Tax Fraud Kingpin Extradited to
United States Faces Hearing Today

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. December 16, 2013.  Raoul Weil, the former head of UBS’s Global Wealth Management business is scheduled to appear for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale today. He was extradited to the United States from Italy where he was arrested on an international warrant after being indicted for his role in conspiring to violate U.S. tax laws.  Weil was the top boss for UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, and controlled the international illegal banking schemes worldwide.

As  head of Global Wealth Management while Birkenfeld worked at the bank, Weil had responsibility for five international regions for which UBS actively solicited wealthy clients to establish secret and illegal accounts and other fraudulent enterprises that permitted hundreds of billions of dollars to be hidden from local taxing authorities, including the United States.  His regions were:  Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Americas).  Martin Liechti, who was directly responsible for the illegal banking activities that Birkenfeld exposed, was the head of the America’s program, and reported to Weil.

In 2007, UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld provided the IRS, SEC, U.S. Senate and Department of Justice with unprecedented access to thousands of pages of documents and other information revealing for the first time the international fraud schemes managed by Weil.  Birkenfeld’s historic disclosures led directly to Weil’s indictment in 2008 and his eventual arrest by Italian authorities.

In a statement issued today by Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and one of Mr. Birkenfeld’s attorneys, Kohn warned that the Justice Department “may give Weil a sweetheart deal that could cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, and set back international efforts to curb corruption.” 

Kohn pointed to a highly improper “deal” cut with Martin Liechti, who formally ran the America’s program under Weil’s leadership at UBS.  “Liechti was caught red-handed in the United States, but was permitted to plead the ‘Fifth Amendment’ in testimony before Congress, and soon after permitted to leave the United States without having to face justice for his illegal actions in hiding billions of dollars from the IRS,” Kohn said.  

Read more...
Updated Citizens' Handbook Explains Whistleblower Reward Process


 Washington, D.C. June 10, 2013.The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) is proud to announce the release of the third edition of The Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself. This third edition includes an updated chapter on the IRS whistleblower rewards process, including the historic $104 million Birkenfeld reward, explains the reward process under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and explains the new protections enacted by Congress in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

The Whistleblower's Handbook is the first-ever consumer's guide to whistleblowing. It contains twenty-one clear and comprehensive rules that fully explain how to effectively blow the whistle. Whistleblower reward laws now cover most of the American economy, including government contracting and procurement, tax fraud and fraud committed on Wall Street. 

The Whistleblower's Handbook is authored by one of America's most experienced and accomplished whistleblower attorneys, NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn.  Kohn has successfully represented whistleblowers for over 29 years. 

The Whistleblower's Handbook is the authoritative reference for anyone who has ever wondered how they might blow the whistle - and, once they've done so, how to prevail.

Limited quantities available. Make your tax-deductible Donation Now!


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