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SEC Awards $279 Million to Whistleblower Tipster on Ericsson case

The largest-ever award in the SEC’s cash-for-tips program was related to Ericsson’s bribery case.

The record $279 million whistleblower award issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month stemmed from a bribery case against telecommunications company Ericsson.

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The award from the SEC’s cash-for-tips program was related to the $1.1 billion settlement the Swedish company reached with U.S. authorities in 2019 over allegations it conspired to make illegal payments to win business in five countries, in violation of U.S. antibribery laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The SEC didn’t name the enforcement action underlying the award and didn’t identify the tipster, in keeping with whistleblower protection rules that prevent the regulator from divulging this information to the public.

A series of alleged missteps since 2019 led Ericsson in March to agree to plead guilty and pay an additional fine of about $207 million to settle allegations it breached the deferred prosecution agreement it reached in 2019 with the Justice Department.

Under SEC rules, a whistleblower can receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the fines collected in SEC civil-enforcement actions and related actions from other enforcement agencies resulting from a tip, assuming the SEC collects more than $1 million.

The $279 million whistleblower award topped the previous record, a $114 million whistleblower award the SEC issued to an individual in October 2020.


Image: Ericsson