A Bank of England report that mischaracterizes the reward program for FCPA tips and has other serious flaws should be removed right away, according to an American NGO that helps whistleblowers.
The National Whistleblower Center formally requested Bank of England governor Mark Carney to remove the 2014 report from the BoE website within ten days.
“We are concerned that continued use of the BoE report as a policy reference will only serve to inhibit the implementation of effective anti-fraud laws in the UK. Many of its assertions … are simply false,” the National Whistleblower Center said Wednesday in a letter to Carney.
The BoE report (pdf) claims U.S. whistleblower rewards don’t generate quality tips, lead to malicious reporting, and impose expensive and unnecessary “governance structures.”
In a 24-page rebuttal (pdf), the National Whistleblower Center said BoE investigators didn’t understand U.S. laws and agency jurisdiction, used data selectively, and relied on “irrelevant evidence and sources.”
The BoE said its delegation “visited the U.S. Department of Justice, which has the power to make awards to whistleblowers in retaliation to prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
The National Whistleblower Center’s rebuttal said,
The problem with this statement is that the DOJ has no responsibility over the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act reward program. In other words, there is no U.S. Department of Justice-FCPA whistleblower program, and that agency does not pay rewards. Under the Dodd-Frank Act only the Securities and Exchange Commission has the authority to pay rewards under the FCPA.
The SEC has received 793 FCPA tips since FY2014, including 210 tips in FY2017.
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.
The BoE said investigators also met the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
“Yet the Comptroller of the Currency has no whistleblower program, no authority to pay any rewards, and does not oversee any criminal or civil investigations for which whistleblowers can obtain rewards from other agencies,” the National Whistleblower Center said Wednesday.
BoE investigators also met with representatives of the United Nations.
“The UN has no jurisdiction over U.S. laws, including U.S. whistleblower laws, nor any reward program itself,” the rebuttal said.
“Moreover, the UN has been itself accused of retaliation against its own employees, who lack protections from the organization itself and instead rely on national laws.”
Stephen Kohn, chief of the National Whistleblower Center, said: “The Bank of England has done a great disservice to the citizens of the UK. Their report on whistleblower incentive laws is deceptive and has been used to support whistleblower policies that fail to effectively protect whistleblowers.”
The National Whistleblower Center said the Bank of England hasn’t yet responded to its rebuttal.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.