In Brazil the concept of the whistleblower continues to be ignored – as having been incorporated into our legal system by former Minister Sérgio Moro's anti-crime package, approved by the National Congress underStatute 13,964 of December 24, 2019 (which utilizes the definition of informant rather than the North American definition of whistleblower) – along with the benefits that its employment could bring to the country, especially in the fight against corruption. While the United States, at the end of 2022, have just passed the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act, making significant progress in the battle against money laundering.
The US Congress is no different from the Brazilian Congress or from other congresses or parliaments around the world, which coexist amidst opposing forces from different segments of society, seeking to defend their interests – which, at different times, are diametrically conflicting.
In this specific case, however, there was a confluence of thoughts and intentions regarding US sanctions against Russian oligarchs who support the actions of President Vladimir Putin in the invasion of Ukraine. The act was one of the US government's responses to the visit of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States on December 21, 2022.
But, after all, what exactly are these developments, which helped expose situations that could be considered as laundering of illegally obtained funds?
The new law grants an award to one or more whistleblowers who voluntarily provide legit information on money laundering to their employer, the Secretary, or the Attorney General, as applicable. This award will be at least 10% and no more than 30% of the total value of fines collected in the course of legal actions.
To this end, a petty cash fund called the Financial Integrity Fund is to be created in the US Treasury. It will be made available to the Secretary only for the payment of such awards, and its resources cannot be used to cover administrative or personnel expenses.
The fund will consist of the values of monetary sanctions up to US$300 million collected by the Secretary or the Attorney General in judicial or administrative actions against money laundering.
Indeed, it is a clever approach to increase the State's monitoring power, as the resources available for this purpose are quite limited in terms of both people and financial resources. Thus, the State now may count with the assistance of the employees of organizations that conceal illegally obtained funds through the practice known as money laundering.