Calling all FCPA Whistleblowers — The CFTC Wants You!
If you have information on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in the commodities or derivatives markets, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants to hear from you. The agency made this clear in a recently-issued CFTC “Whistleblower Alert” calling on all FCPA whistleblowers to step forward and report what they know.
The agency even dangled the potential for monetary rewards for those bringing information leading to a successful enforcement action. This whistleblower shout-out is just the latest move by what appears to be an agency re-dedicated to providing whistleblowers with a wider, stronger and more heart-felt embrace.
It all stems from the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program, which was created under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Under the program, whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of any government recovery by the CFTC or other federal agencies through related enforcement proceedings. Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has awarded more than $85 million to whistleblowers.
It is a far cry from the hundreds of millions of dollars the SEC has awarded to whistleblowers under its parallel whistleblower program. But the agency has picked up its game lately with a string of whistleblower awards, making it very clear that after a slow start in implementing its whistleblower program, the agency is wide open for whistleblower business. In an award it made in May, CFTC Enforcement Director James McDonald could not have been more direct on this point:
Today’s award stands as one in a growing line of whistleblower awards that show the Commission’s continued commitment to the program. Whistleblowers have become an integral part of our enforcement efforts, and I expect that trend to continue going forward.
With its newly trumpeted “We Want You” campaign for FCPA whistleblowers, the CFTC is continuing its newly energized whistleblower push. And given DOJ’s continued focus on rooting out foreign bribery, it is not surprising the CFTC wants in on the action. This is especially so given the Commodity Exchange Act violations that can directly result from bribes to foreign government officials, the key offense the FCPA is designed to target.
What are the types of misconduct to be on the lookout for? In its FCPA Whistleblower Alert, the CFTC points to three:
- Corrupt practices that alter the prices in commodity markets that drive U.S. derivatives prices.
- Bribes employed to secure business in connection with regulated activities like trading, advising, or dealing in swaps or derivatives, paid out of funds investors believed were being used to invest.
- Corrupt practices used to manipulate benchmarks that serve as the basis for related derivatives contracts, as prices that are the product of corruption might be falsely reported to benchmarks.
So if you have information relating to this kind of misconduct or other types of foreign bribery transgressions, the CFTC is waiting for you (the SEC too). So may be a potential reward. You do not even need to be a company insider. You just need to provide original information that leads to a successful government recovery. So what are you waiting for? The CFTC wants you!
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