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Major Victory for Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblowers

WASHINGTON, D.C. | December 23, 2022 — The Omnibus spending package approved by the U.S. Senate includes the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act (S.3316/H.R. 7195). National Whistleblower Center (NWC) has long advocated for program improvements to the Anti-Money Laundering whistleblower program and NWC supporters actively engaged in advocacy efforts to ensure the inclusion of this bill in the recently approved Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

Stephen Kohn, Chairman of the Board at NWC, has described the bipartisan bill as “the most important transnational anti-corruption whistleblower law that will be signed into law.”

Siri Nelson, Executive Director, at NWC described the bill a “a clear reflection of public support for whistleblower protections and incentives and the broadening understanding of the value whistleblowers bring to safeguarding our democracy.”

The Whistleblower Act targets Russian oligarchs by establishing an effective whistleblower program to incentivize individuals across the globe to report money laundering and sanctions-busting schemes. The bill is modeled on the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the hugely successful SEC Whistleblower Program. Ukraine’s President Zelensky mentioned the value of sanctions in his December 21, 2022 remarks at the U.S. House of Representatives. AML whistleblowers supercharge the power of these sanctions by introducing robust detection and massive increases to the U.S. government’s ability to enforce these sanctions.

This bipartisan and bicameral victory for whistleblowers was supported by sponsors Congresswoman Adams, Senator Grassley, and Senator Warnock among others:

“The whistleblower provision in the omnibus, based on my Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act legislation, strengthens an existing anti-money laundering whistleblower program by setting a minimum whistleblower award amount and creating a funding mechanism to pay whistleblowers,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, a member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. “Money laundering is a key foundation of criminal enterprises and corrupt practices. By strengthening whistleblower awards, we will help stop crime, fraud, waste, and abuse.”

“Whistleblower programs like those I helped write into the False Claims Act have saved taxpayers $70 billion. The similar SEC whistleblower program has saved over $4.8 billion, and the IRS whistleblower program has saved over $6 billion. I’m confident this enhanced program encouraging individuals to come forward with information about suspected sanctions violations will be successful, too. I’m grateful to all those who’ve helped make this program a reality, like the advocates at the National Whistleblower Center,” Senator Grassley said.

“Whistleblowers are courageous people who shine a light on injustice, and incentivizing whistleblowers to hold bad actions and actors accountable is more important than ever,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I was proud to work with my colleagues Senator Chuck Grassley and Congresswoman Alma Adams to pass this bipartisan legislation that will help make our system more fair, which will soon become law.”

The House Committee on Financial Services’ report on the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act cited extensively the comments filed by the National Whistleblower Center on the bill. One of the Act’s cosponsors, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), touted the National Whistleblower Center’s endorsement of the legislation.

Nelson penned an op-ed on the value of AML whistleblower protections at Whistleblower Network News and is available to discuss the details of this critical anti-corruption legislation and its impact on uncovering the hidden assets of Russian oligarchs funding the war in Ukraine.

NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson is available for comment. For more information, contact NWC at info@whistleblowers.org.

National Whistleblower Center is a  501(c)(3) non-partisan non-profit. Our work is made possible by grassroots efforts and public support. Please consider a donation to NWC today.

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