Bradley C. Birkenfeld (
Lucifer's Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy), in conversation with
Birthe Eriksen (BI) and
Tina Søreide (NNH).
Whistleblowing in cases of Corporate Criminal Liability: The Missing Piece or Last Resort?
Law enforcement agencies in many developed and developing countries have increasingly come to rely on whistleblowers as important parts of the corporate liability puzzle. Some of biggest scandals uncovered have been brought to light by whistleblowers. This explains the emphasis on laws in several jurisdictions protecting those that do decide to expose hidden crime. But given the impact of corporate crime on democracy and rule of law, should whistleblowing be relied on as the missing piece in cases of corporate criminal liability or should it be treated as the last resort when all else fails?
1. Bradley C. Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower in history and the author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, (November 2016). As an international private banker he exposed how UBS, the world’s largest bank, helped ultra-wealthy Americans commit billions in tax fraud. His bombshell revelations cracked the impenetrable fortress of Swiss banks, proving that offshore financial institutions systematically aided clients’ tax evasion, corruption and terrorist activities. His case triggered monumental changes in banking laws, the federal tax code and international tax treaties.
In 2005, despite a thriving career spanning Credit Suisse, Barclays Bank and UBS, Birkenfeld could no longer keep silent about bank-enabled tax fraud. When UBS rejected his concerns, he turned to the U.S. authorities. Though jailed for 30 months, he was soon vindicated with a record-breaking IRS reward: his work had enabled the U.S. Treasury to recover $25 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties. The case set off a domino effect of international investigations into offshore banking’s secret crimes, including the Panama Papers and much more. Now retired, Birkenfeld is a philanthropist and supports whistleblowing efforts worldwide.
2. Birthe Eriksen is an Associate Professor at BI Norwegian Business School. She is a trained lawyer, academic, and social activist interested in issues related to whistleblowing and how misuse of power and money subvert the cause of democracy.
3. Tina Søreide (Chair): Professor of Law and Economics at NHH working on issues related to corporate criminal liability in cases of bribery.
Introduction by Tina (5 mins)
Talk by Bradley (20-25 mins)
Comments by Birthe + Response by Bradley (10-15 mins)
Audience Q&A (15 mins)
Coffee, tea and croissants will be served. The event is free and all are welcome to attend!