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:
Constantine Cannon’s international reach
Constantine Cannon has the largest whistleblower practice outside of the United States. Launched in 2017, we are the only firm with a dedicated team of whistleblowing attorneys based in London. Together with our teams in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and New York, Constantine Cannon is able to represent international whistleblowers from any country.
Our firm has represented whistleblower clients and consulted with whistleblowers from around the world, including the United Kingdom, France, South Korea, India, the United Arab Emirates, and Peru. We also work closely with attorneys based in other countries whose clients are seeking advice regarding U.S. whistleblower laws and reward programs.
Our team is known for a string of major whistleblower successes, including the successful representation of the first British whistleblower to expose a U.K. company for evading U.S. import duties and only the second to receive a financial reward under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, a law which allows whistleblowers to bring lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. government.
Mary Inman, one of our London-based whistleblower partners, has over 23 years of experience representing whistleblowers under U.S. whistleblower laws and reward programs. Mary regularly speaks at events covering whistleblowing issues and is often featured and published in the U.K. and international press. In 2017, our international whistleblower practice was profiled in the New York Times.
Our attorneys in London and our U.S. offices speak Spanish, French, Italian, German, Hindi, Gujarati, Korean, Polish, Tamil, Urdu, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Serbian and Croatian.