Have FCPA whistleblower tips reached a critical mass, so that more enforcement actions will follow?
The SEC reported that in FY2017 it logged 210 FCPA tips from whistleblowers.
In FY2016, the SEC received 238 FCPA tips, 186 in 2015, and 159 in 2014.
That’s 793 FCPA tips since FY2014.
It’s not clear how many companies are named in the FCPA tips. The SEC doesn’t say what companies the tips relate to, or how many tips covered the same potential offenses.
And by law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn’t disclose information that might reveal their identity.
But at least one FCPA tip resulted in an award, according to a report in 2016. The Financial Review (Australia) said the SEC paid a BHP Billiton insider $3.75 million for information related to an investigation into bribery of Asian and African officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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.
How many FCPA tips came from overseas? The SEC hasn’t said. But tips of all types in FY2017 came from 72 foreign countries, with more than 550 individuals submitting tips from outside the United States.
At least ten past whistleblower award recipients were foreign nationals or residents of foreign countries at the time they submitted their tips to the SEC.
The SEC’s biggest award — $30 million in 2014 — went to a whistleblower living in a foreign country.
Last month the SEC awarded a foreign whistleblower working in a foreign country more than $4 million.
In FY2017, there were 4,400 tips overall. There have now been more than 22,000 tips since the SEC’s whistleblower program started in 2012.
More than $179 million has been awarded to 50 whistleblowers since the SEC’s first award in 2012.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.