Top Whistleblower Attorney Tells World Bank Group It Must Protection Whistleblowers
During a presentation on Technical Workshop on Reprisals to the World Bank Group on October 23, 2018, whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn explained the importance of both incentivizing and protecting whistleblower who come forward to report fraud and corruption.
Kohn discussed the success of U.S. whistleblower incentive laws as a tool to detect fraud. He used the qui tam provisions of the U.S. False Claims Act as an example, demonstrating how it is the most effective U.S. whistleblower law ever passed to protect and reward whistleblowers that expose fraud in government contracting. Kohn’s presentation included several quotes from government officials citing to the effectiveness of these laws such as that of Acting Associate Attorney General Bill Baer, “The False Claims Act and it’s [whistleblower] provisions remain the government’s most effective civil tool in protecting vital government programs from fraud schemes.”
In addition, Kohn directed the World Bank Group’s attention to the U.S. Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers in International Financial Institutions: Public Law 115-142, § 7029(e). This law directs The Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the “United States executive director of each international financial institution to seek to require that each such institution is effectively implementing and enforcing policies and procedures which reflect best practices for the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation.” These international financial institutions include, The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Inter-American Development Bank.
“It is absolutely essential for international financial institutions to implement strong whistleblower protections in order encourage employees to report fraud and corruption,” Kohn told the World Bank Group. “U.S. law directs the U. S. Executive Director of each institution to promote the investigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption and therefore policies to protect whistleblowers from reprisals must be put into place,” Kohn explained.
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Stephen M. Kohn is a partner in the whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto who's primary litigation includes representing international whistleblowers under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, tax fraud whistleblowers, qui tam reward laws, the False Claims Act, SEC whistleblowers and IRS whistleblowers. In 2012 the firm obtained the largest whistleblower reward given to a single individual in history ($104 million to UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld) and he represents Danske Bank Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson. Kohn is also a founder of the National Whistleblower Center where he serves, pro bono, as the executive director. His eighth book on whistleblower law is the highly respected The New Whistleblower’s Handbook (Lyons Press, 2017).