2022 was a challenging year for compliance – economic recession, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, protests in Iran, revolutionary elections in Brazil and many more events pushed back the efforts of compliance professionals to make the world a more transparent place.
The main challenges of today are sanctions evasion, money laundering, human trafficking, violation of ESG principles – the list is endless. We do need more whistleblowers and Ethicontrol sticks to its mission to make whistleblowing affordable, secure and easy for everyone.
What did we witness in 2022?
Progress in national whistleblowing laws in a list of countries
The date of 27th of December 2022 has passed - this means that the majority of the EU member states failed to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive to their national legislation. With the EU Whistleblowing Monitor, we constantly check the progress in whistleblowing, and the results this year are not promising. Only 12 countries adopted the legislation and 14 have it delayed. Hungary remains the outsider of the whole process – the country has not started the implementation of the Directive yet, despite the multiple criticisms from local NGOs and the European Commission.
SEC adopted whistleblower-friendly amendments
We’ve got good news from the US – whistleblowers in 2023 will report in safer circumstances and will be rewarded for it. Firstly, at the end of 2022 the Congress passed the Anti-Money Laundering Improvement Act. This is a massive step for whistleblowers’ protection since the Act covers not only money laundering but sanctions violations. The whistleblowers get enhanced protection compared to the AML Whistleblower Program of 2021 that included legislative loopholes. Whistleblowers protected by the Act will also get rewards up to 10% for reporting – a rare practice in whistleblowing globally.
Secondly, at the start of the year, SEC updated its well-known whistleblower protection program – the update concerned the points that discouraged whistleblowers from reporting. The first amendment allowed whistleblowers to receive a higher reward from SEC even if they are eligible for a lower award by another whistleblower program that is more applicable to their case.
Previously, whistleblowers were disadvantaged by SEC, as they were not eligible for SEC’s awards if another program applied. Another amendment gave SEC authorization to consider the dollar payments to whistleblower only for upward adjustments – before SEC was authorized to adjust and lower the payment that exceeded $5 million.
Another year of “low” FCPA charges
2022 was fruitful for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – we compiled our annual report on FCPA. Bribing foreign officials to get advantage in the future contractual relationships remained a number one method to get on the record of FCPA violations.
After the groundbreaking 2019, it seems like global corruption is in decline. The detailed reports issued by the DOJ and SEC prove that this is not the case – we witness the decline in total sums of penalties, but definitely not in the quality of investigation and number of fraud cases.
Other developments for whistleblowers around the world
A $250 million award to a whistleblower – an astonishing amount of money that might incentivize many other whistleblowers to report. In 2022 the whistleblower was awarded over 29% from the settlement in U.S. v. Biogen Inc. case. Since Biogen settled the dispute prior to the trial without the intervention from the government, the whistleblower was able to receive more than 25% of the settlement sum (instead of the usual 15-25%).
A documentary on whistleblowers’ mistreatment in the UN was released by BBC. The scale of the ongoing lack of support for the whistleblowers and absence of real opportunities for reporting are shocking, especially when it comes to large entities such as the UN.
Top posts from Ethicontrol
We are happy when our educational content makes it to the top – 2022 was one of those years. Whistleblower protection, legal requirements for local businesses and anti-corruption measures were among the most requested topics on our website.
In 2022 our 3 the most popular pages were:
Thank you for being with us in 2022!