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SEC awards nearly US$50 million to informant

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 10 June 2020

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As a sign of how money and only money can open up some conspiracies to public scrutiny, the US Securities and Exchange Commission's 'Office of the Whistleblower' has paid almost $50 million to an unnamed person who provided detailed, first-hand observations of misconduct at a company which resulted in a successful enforcement action that returned large sums to wronged investors.

This is the largest amount ever awarded to one individual and represents one-tenth of all the awards ever made. The next largest is a $39 million award to an individual in 2018. Two people also shared almost $50 million between them from an award in that same year. The Office of the Whistleblower was set up in 2012. Its awards - paid to 83 people - amount to more than $500 million all told, including more than $100 million in this fiscal year alone. One SEC bigwig referred to the whistleblower as "a critical tool." Such awards can range between 10% and 30% of the money that the SEC collects in cases where the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.

As demanded by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC shrouds the identities of informants in mystery.

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