This is part V of my FCPA reward whistleblower series where I address frequently asked questions posed by people who are interested in filing an FCPA reward submission with the SEC. As background, international and FCPA whistleblowers who report SEC-regulated companies may be eligible for a reward under the Dodd-Frank program. Part I of this series can be viewed here, part II can be viewed here, part III can be viewed here, and part IV can be viewed here.
Should FCPA Whistleblowers Report Internally Before Filing with the SEC?
No, with the minor exception of internal audit and compliance personnel, FCPA whistleblowers who are reporting outside of the United States should first report to the SEC. In Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, the Supreme Court held that the Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provisions do not apply unless the whistleblower has first reported to the SEC. This is particularly significant to employees who are reporting outside of the U.S. because courts have held that foreign employees reporting FCPA violations outside of the U.S. are not covered by SOX’s anti-retaliation provisions. As a result, it would be extremely risky for a foreign employee to raise FCPA violations against his company without first having filed with the SEC, as the company could simply terminate him.
Are Information Technology (IT) Personnel Eligible for Rewards?
Yes, SEC rewards are available to current and former information technology (IT) employees who report bribery confidentially under the Dodd-Frank Act. Local IT personnel will often come across evidence of bribery and corruption during the course of their work. If current or former IT personnel come across any emails, documents, or information indicating that their companies (or agents working on behalf of their companies) have provided bribes to government officials or if they are asked to do something suspicious during the course of an audit or investigation, this could be reward eligible information.
Are Expatriates (Expats) Eligible for Rewards?
Yes, expatriates at all levels are now eligible for large rewards for reporting bribery confidentially to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Expatriates often manage and assist local corporate sales and marketing teams. During the course of their work, they can become aware of payments and incentives being provided to government decision makers in order to obtain business and deals.
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