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FCPA Whistleblower Bounty Program to Become Law
Posted By Leah Nylen On July 15, 2010 @ 3:31 pm In News | Comments Disabled
After months of wrangling, the Senate cleared legislation Thursday that would ban taxpayer-funded bailouts and seek to increase consumer protections.
The Senate passed the measure, 60-39. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who has said he will sign the legislation.
While Wall Street bankers have focused on provisions about derivatives regulations and breaking up troubled financial firms, a short section on page 727 of the 1600-page bill most interests white-collar defense lawyers.
A provision in the measure would create a “whistleblower bounty,” allowing whistleblowers who report securities violations to recover part of any settlement that exceeds $1 million. The measure would apply to any securities violation — including Securities and Exchange Commission investigations in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases.
The legislation would limit whistleblowers to between 10 and 30 percent of any recovery.
The award would be determined by the SEC based on the significance of the information and the level of cooperation provided by the individual. Under the bill, whistleblowers would be prohibited from receiving awards if they were convicted of a criminal violation in relation to the probe.
FCPA experts have suggested the new program could lead to more voluntary disclosures of potential violations.
“This makes the calculation easier — you darn well better self-report even more quickly, and recognize the greater danger if you choose not to self-report,” Andrew Kaizer, a partner  at Arent Fox LLP, said in an interview  in April.
Kaizer also warned that the program could cause some employees to not report minor violations to the company in the hope that it turns into a larger violation — and a larger bounty.
“Does this create more problems for them because they have all the eyes and ears on them of in-house people who now have an economic interest instead of the company’s interest in mind?” Kaizer asked.
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