As California employment and whistleblower lawyers, we follow developments in cases involving all aspects of the relationship between employees and employers. We often represent clients and groups of employees that have been harmed by their employer. But sometimes the employees see the harm that their employers are causing and blow the whistle on the behavior or actions.
As so it is that the Wall Street Journal reports that the individual who blew the whistle on his former employer UBS has been awarded a huge award for his efforts. The $104 million award is based on information this whistleblower provided to United States government authorities in 2007.
The whistleblower provided information to the government about the bank’s efforts to help their clients evade taxes. In this case, the whistleblower provided “detailed descriptions of the bank’s efforts to promote tax evasion and confessed to running errands” that included smuggling diamonds in toothpaste tubes.
This matter is very important in lifting the secrecy of Swiss bank activities on behalf of the wealthy who are attempting to avoid taxation. The case has forced the confession of many taxpayers who had undeclared accounts oversees, which amounted to over $5 billion in taxes and penalties to be paid to the IRS that otherwise would have been unpaid.
Although this whistleblower is serving his own sentence under house arrest for his participation in the activities, he is entitled to a percentage of the collected proceeds. The award might well encourage others to provide information about similar situations.