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Helping international whistleblowers bring claims under U.S. whistleblower laws

You do not need to be a citizen or resident of the United States to become a whistleblower. In many cases, whistleblowers located outside of the U.S. are best positioned to uncover fraudulent schemes that violate U.S. laws or affect the U.S. government such as fraudulent bills submitted to the U.S. government, evasion of U.S. taxes, or financial and investor fraud involving companies subject to U.S. regulation. Foreign nationals who have information about fraudulent activity that is covered by U.S. whistleblower programs can bring claims under U.S. whistleblower laws and potentially receive rewards.

Similarly, the companies involved in fraudulent activities do not need to be based in the United States and the fraudulent scheme or activity does not need to have occurred in the United States. However, a link or nexus between the company and the Unites States needs to be shown and there are a number of ways in which that link or nexus can be established. For instance, because of the impact on U.S. investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission can assert jurisdiction over a foreign bank engaged in accounting fraud abroad if the bank is traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

International whistleblowers should be aware of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), which prohibits U.S. companies, foreign companies subject to U.S. regulation, and individuals from bribing foreign government officials in order to obtain or retain any kind of business advantage. The FCPA also imposes certain record keeping and internal control requirements on U.S. companies and foreign companies subject to U.S. regulation. Violations of the FCPA can lead to civil and criminal penalties which are enforced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

International whistleblowers play an important role in the enforcement of U.S. securities laws and regulations. The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower reports a significant number of tips received from international whistleblowers, including individuals from the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Australia and India.

Successful international whistleblower cases

  • Rewards to Non-U.S. Citizens: Numerous non-U.S. citizens have received whistleblower awards under the False Claims Act, the SEC Whistleblower Reward Program, the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program, and others.
  • Cases Against Non-U.S. Companies:  Non-U.S. companies regularly face government enforcement actions arising under whistleblower laws.  In addition to FCPA and securities actions described above, among the more common cases against non-U.S. companies are False Claims Act cases involving customs fraud, False Claims Act cases involving violations of trade agreements, defense contract fraud, and other procurement fraud in foreign aid programs.
  • Wrongful Conduct Outside of U.S.:  Given the global nature of manufacturing, company operations outside of the U.S. can give rise to claims by whistleblowers.  For example, government contracts and programs may require companies to meet certain manufacturing or other standards in their global operations, and failure to do so can result in liability under U.S. law.  Whistleblowers working outside of the U.S. would be among the most likely to have information about such wrongful conduct.

Non-U.S. whistleblower laws

Many other countries have adopted or are considering whistleblower laws which offer financial rewards. Constantine Cannon attorneys regularly provide testimony and other support for such laws, working with attorneys around the world. To read more about these laws:

Learn about Whistleblower Rewards Programs