Ireland: Ireland’s First Us Whistleblower Millionaire?

Last Updated: 30 December 2013
Article by Greg Glynn
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, October 2018

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank") became a federal law in the US in 2010. With the passage of the Dodd-Frank US federal law they later created as part of this legislation the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") Office of the Whistleblower ("OWB"). The very large lucrative pay-outs for whistleblowing is a considerable attraction for individuals considering that one can achieve in the range of between 10% and 30% of the amount that the US SEC secures through a settlement or a court decision.

There have been many complaints from large corporations in the US that it undermines a company's good internal compliance programme. Some of the US business institutions together with the American Bar Association ("ABA") wanted the SEC to request company whistleblowers to firstly go through the company's own internal compliance programme before they whistle-blowed. In the end, it was a double-edged sword result for US business because the SEC rule encouraged potential whistleblowers to report first through a company's internal compliance programme because the whistleblower gets credit for doing so if he, likewise, within 120 days reports the same information to the SEC. In addition, the whistleblower will still get the benefit even if the company does its own internal investigation and reports the results to the SEC. Even in that scenario, the whistleblower may qualify again for the percentage range as previously described. Corporate in-house lawyers are also allowed participate in the percentage award programme but with limitations, for example, anything learnt in the solicitor client relationship unless waived is not allowed.

The SEC OWB programme commenced in August 2011 and is now in operation two years. In August 2012 they actually paid out the first award of approximately €40,000 and in August 2013 they paid out their largest sum to date of $14million to a whistleblower where the US SEC also recovered substantial investor funds. The US SEC advocate that their whistleblowing programme is quicker in payingwhile the US IRS take several years to crystallise into an actual award as those kinds of cases require additional work.

In the first annual report on the Dodd- Frank Whistleblower programme for 2012 they received 3,000 Tips, Complaints and Referrals ("TCR"). In the second annual report for 2013 the number of TCR have now risen to 3,238 which is an increase of approximately 8% from 2012.

Of the 3,000 TCRs in 2012 some 324 were from abroad and involved 49 countries. Of those 49 countries Ireland was ranked 8th with 9 TCRs after the UK 74; Canada 46; India 33; China 27; Australia 21; South Africa 10; and Israel 10. Germany had 8 TCRs and Venezuela 6.

In 2013 the TCRs from abroad have now risen to 402. Again, the UK has the biggest number at 66; Canada 62; China 53; Russia 20 and Ireland is now in joint fifth position with India at 18. Now that Ireland has 18 TCRs it is only a matter of time before Irish based people benefit from this US award programme from the SEC OWB. TCRs from Ireland will continue to increase as you do not have to be an employee of the company that you make the TCR on. The added danger to this is that as a result of the Irish whistleblowers actions, even with possible US SEC involvement, one can seriously envisage that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) will not be far behind which could result in a criminal indictment of the company and/or several of the directors, wherever they are located.

The Irish Government are committed to a comprehensive whistleblower protection law and they want to enact legislation to protect whistleblowers who speak out against corruption or wrongdoings by an employer so on 3 July 2013 the Public Disclosure Bill 2013 was published. It is known as the Whistleblowers Bill. One can also breathe a sigh of relief as there is no compensation or reward programme contained in it.

In Ireland, there is no legislative reference to percentage or award amounts to be paid.

We have legislation dating back to 1890; the Inland Revenue Regulation Act which allowed under section 32 the then Revenue to make tax free awards to whistleblowers where information leads to the recovery of unpaid taxes. This particular section was carried into force in the Irish State by the Adoption of Enactments Act 1922 and it has not been repealed to this date. The reward amounts are miniscule in the present date. However, there is also a guideline to the Revenue Commissioners staff for when they receive unsolicited information from the public (O.I. 2005 No. 7). In considering the guidelines one is bemused by the fact that the Revenue Commissioners believe that we are already a nation of whistleblowers as we are willing to provide such information to the Revenue Commissioners without reward. Hence the principle caveat in these guidelines being that Revenue Commissioners official being on such calls is that they are not allowed mention the word "reward" but are only allowed acknowledge that the Revenue Commissioners do and give "rewards" if the whistleblower raises it first. It also acknowledges that any such payments made are very small and the Revenue Commissioners confirmed that they paid whistleblowers the following:-

"€2,500 in 2011, €2,000 in 2010, and €2,350 in 2009."

This is a clear indication of how miniscule such Irish payments have been.

Unfortunately, the Irish Revenue Commissioners have not disclosed how many actual whistleblowers contact them out of their civic duty with relevant information. However, one wonders if this would change if the public whistleblower understood that you could be rewarded for such information but you have to ask for the information first, as against being offered it in the first instance.

Ireland is obviously nowhere near the US on whistleblower awards but it is evident that the SEC OWB has received 18 TCRs from Ireland in 2013 as against 9 TCRs in 2012 and that some of those may possibly get very significant awards of money for such whistle-blowing from Uncle Sam as against the Irish State. In other words, is Ireland's first US whistleblower millionaire far behind?

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions