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Australia whistleblower lawsThose looking to report corruption, fraud, tax evasion, and other forms of misconduct in the corporate world can finally get the protection they deserve as new whistleblower laws in Australia clear federal parliament.

Corporate whistleblower laws introduced in late 2017 have managed to pass the lower house in early 2019. These laws put into place offer greater protection for anyone wishing to voice concerns about fraudulent activities within a division of the corporate world.

Corporate crime is an illegal act that is committed by a company or business with the goal of giving the company a boost or advantage they normally would be unable to receive. Examples of this are all over the world and are committed by even some of the best-known brands. Many in the U.S. may even recall back in 2014 when Rite Aid, one of the largest drug stores, was required to pay almost 3 billion for violating the False Claims Act by allegedly using gift cards to sway those on Medicare and Medicaid to switch their prescriptions to their pharmacies. This would be considered an act of bribery, and one of the many types of corporate crime. Corporate crime has cost many countries a considerable amount, and so whistleblowers, those who have set out to inform others about illicit activity, are one of the best defenses we have to fight against this type of crime.

The Tax Division of the Department of Justice and the IRS is increasing its scrutiny of offshore tax evasion with fourteen active federal grand jury investigations related to foreign banking institutions to identify and reveal American depositors. It is pursuing criminal investigations of scores of Swiss banks and also banks in Israel, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Barbados, Hong Kong, Singapore and others. Bank Leumi recently entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, paying $270 million and the bank agreed to identify numerous account holders in the U.S. to the I.R.S.. B.S.I, a Swiss bank paid $211 million and also turned over U.S. account holders.

The law requires that U.S. citizens report moneys in foreign accounts. Failure to report foreign accounts means filing a false tax return which may have criminal penalties.

The IRS whistleblower statute allows individuals with “specific and credible” information about tax evasion exceeding $2 million to collect a percentage of what the government recovers. The IRS program protects against disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity.

A report from the United States Securities and Exchange Commissions reveals that  there were 69  whistleblower tips from India between October 2013 to September 2014, making it the second largest source of such leads outside of US.  The number of leads from India is almost at par with UK, which generated 70 tips to become the largest source for such tips. Indians had reported only 18 such clues between October 2012 to September 2013.

Within a year and half of Ranbaxy whistle-blower Dinesh Thakur bagging $48 million by revealing company’s misadventures, there has been a fourfold jump in the number of Indians reporting secret tips about misconduct and fraudulent practices to the US watchdog.Thakur worked with multiple US agencies for eight years to expose dubious practices at Ranbaxy which ended up in the company pleading guilty to lapses in manufacturing and data-documentation and agreeing to pay $500 million in May 2013.

The uptick in interest levels largely to Thakur’s high profile case and the publicity generated around it.  US whistleblower laws allow people from across the world to report complains online, through mails and faxes. The whistleblowers are entitled to a reward, if their tip leads to the collection of more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. For instance, this could range between 10 to 25% of the total recoveries of the government under the False Claims Act of the US federal law.