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Tuesday
Dec052017

SEC awards foreign whistleblower $4.1 million

The Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday awarded more than $4.1 million to a former company insider who alerted the agency to "a widespread, multi-year securities law violation."

The whistleblower, a foreign national working outside the United States, also helped during the SEC’s investigation, the agency said.

The SEC said the whistleblower might have earned a bigger award if not for an "unreasonable delay in reporting the misconduct."

The redacted award order is here (pdf).

Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, said: “Company insiders often have valuable information that can help the SEC halt an ongoing securities law violation and better protect investors.”

"[A] foreign national working outside of the United States, affirmatively stepped forward to shine a light on the wrongdoing,” Norberg said.

The SEC’s whistleblower program has now awarded more than $179 million to 50 whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2012, according to the SEC. 

Awards are paid out of penalties the SEC collects from securities law violators.

Whistleblowers can be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with "original, timely, and credible information" that leads to a successful enforcement action. 

Awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when sanctions are more than $1 million.

By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn't disclose information that might reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.