The attorney for Danske Bank money-laundering whistleblower Howard Wilkinson has been invited to testify before the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Brussels, Belgium as an expert witness on whistleblower rights.
Wilkinson, a former employee at Danske Bank’s Estonia office, uncovered a massive money-laundering scandal involving billions of dollars flowing out of Russia. However, he lacked any effective rights under existing Danish or European law. In fact, he faced criminal or civil prosecution if he were to speak out.
Wilkinson’s whistleblower attorney, Stephen M. Kohn, is a founding director of the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kohn was asked by the Committee to testify regarding “best practices” for whistleblowers who seek to expose criminal tax frauds, money laundering and other financial crimes. He was requested to provide answers to three specific questions.
Kohn provided a detailed statement (linked here) to the European Parliament answering the three questions posed by the Committee and explained precisely what steps need to be taken to ensure that employees would be encouraged to report financial frauds, and fully protected from retaliation.
In releasing his testimony to the public Kohn stated:
The time has come for Europe to fully protect whistleblowers. Europe must follow the lead of the United States and enact effective laws that incentivize the disclosure of tax frauds, money laundering and securities violations. Employees must have the right to immediately report financial frauds to law enforcement officials, and any provision in domestic laws or employment contracts that interfere with those rights must be prohibited.
Europe cannot afford another Danske Bank money laundering scandal. Europe must enact effective laws that will encourage employees to report financial crimes to the appropriate law enforcement authorities at the earliest possible time,” Kohn added.