This is the second in a series where some of my clients have volunteered to answer a few questions in order to provide insight to future whistleblowers who are considering making a Dodd-Frank reward submission.
What is your background?
I worked in the finance department for a company in the extractive industry in Africa. This company is traded on a U.S. exchange.
What is your case about?
Basically, the entire African affiliate where I worked – including senior management – were involved in multiple schemes to bribe officials to obtain benefits and business advantages for the company. The extractive industry is heavily regulated so making payments to regulatory officials, such as health, safety, and environmental, is common to obtain favorable environmental assessments and exemptions from cumbersome safety regulations that would slow down operations and production.
Did you report internally at your company?
Yes, I reported these issues to the company. Company management had no interest in stopping the bribery. Their only interest was to increase their bonuses which were directly tied to production. The near constant bribing of regulatory officials was an easy way to ensure that production would continue despite numerous health, safety, and environmental violations, and this served to increase management’s bonuses. As a result, management had no interest in stopping the violations. If anything, they wanted to “shoot the messenger.”
Did you file anonymously?
I did not. I knew the SEC does a great job of protecting the confidentiality and identity of whistleblowers, and I wanted to be as helpful as possible in order for my case to be pursued.
Did you provide documents to the SEC?
Yes, I submitted both hardcopy documents and electronic data, including emails and spreadsheets, showing the bribes and how they were accounted for at the company.
Have you been interviewed?
Yes, I have been interviewed multiple times by the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Though I was nervous at the beginning of my first interview, I really enjoyed the process because I knew the investigators were very interested in the details of my case. I also enjoyed explaining the details and addressing any follow up questions they had.
What advice would you give to others who are considering making a filing?
If anyone has information about any SEC-regulated company (or one of its local affiliates, subsidiaries, or agents) bribing government officials and would like to discuss making a confidential or anonymous submission under the Dodd-Frank program, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. For more information and details about how the reward program applies to FCPA whistleblowers, please click here.