Julia Irvine 25 Sep 2018 01:33pm

SEC values overseas whistleblowers

The US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded an overseas whistleblower nearly $4m (£3m) for helping the regulator to bring a successful enforcement action against an unnamed company

The whistleblower is the latest individual living outside the US to receive one of the awards which the SEC regards as a key tool in its campaign to stamp out fraudulent activity.

“Whistleblowers, whether they are located in the US or abroad, provide a valuable service to investors and help us stop wrongdoing,” said Jane Norberg who heads up the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.

“This award recognises the continued, important assistance provided by the whistleblower throughout the course of the investigation.” 

In this instance, the SEC said, the whistleblower’s tip had not only led it to open an investigation into the company but their “extensive assistance” throughout had led to a successful outcome.

To date, the SEC has paid out more than $326m to 59 individuals since the whistleblower scheme issued its first award in 2012. Over the same period, the SEC says, more than $1.7bn in monetary sanctions has been ordered against wrongdoers based on actionable information from whistleblowers.

Although the majority of the whistleblowers are based in the US, a number of awards have gone to people living overseas, including foreign nationals. In September 2014, the SEC announced that it would be paying out between $30m and $35m to a whistleblower living in a foreign country. It noted that without the report, the fraud would have been “very difficult to detect”.

It also revealed that the whistleblower in question would have received a larger award had there not been an “unreasonable delay” in reporting the fraudulent activity.

The award, which was for a record amount at the time, has been superseded by a $54m award earlier this month to two individuals in the US who both helped the SEC to crack a case. In return the pair received $15m and $39m respectively.

The largest pay-out (£33m) to someone overseas was awarded in March.

The amounts of the awards range from 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators where these exceed $1m.