It’s time to stand up for the whistleblowers

Hervé Falciani, the HSBC whistleblower - currently on the run from the Swiss authorities.

Hervé Falciani, the HSBC whistleblower – currently on the run from the Swiss authorities.

We owe a great debt to the whistleblowers – people who alert us to the misdeeds of the major corporations and public organisations whose decisions affect our everday lives.

Acting entirely altruistically – with no thought for personal gain – these people warn us about the cheats who squat at the top of the economic food chain, doing everything they can to screw the system.

The whistleblowers deserve congratulation and promotion, while the cheats should be removed from their positions, prosecuted, and ordered to pay substantial sums of money as penalty for their actions.

And what do we do? The exact opposite. We prosecute the whistleblowers and elevate the cheats.

Look at Hervé Falciani, the former HSBC systems engineer who revealed that the bank was helping clients avoid paying tax. According to Tax Research UK, he has been on the run from Swiss authorities because he broke Swiss bank secrecy laws to reveal the information, and is living under protection.

Antoine Deltour, who blew the whistle PricewaterhouseCoopers’ lucrative tax avoidance sideline, is now being prosecuted in Luxembourg at the behest of that firm.

Meanwhile, Stephen Green, who chaired HSBC at the time of its offences, was ennobled and made a Conservative minister, while PwC continues to advice the Tory government on its policies to tackle – yes – tax avoidance.

It’s a backwards culture that can only benefit the criminals, and it’s time for legislation to reverse the situation.

Is any political party brave enough to do the honourable thing?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. Gazza February 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I would point out that this culture has been shaped and built by not me or you – the common man – but by the Rich and Powerful [powerful because they are the Rich].

    That in itself tells the story of this modern age [and to a large extent the story of history up to now]. Therefore explaining the abuses of the past and the present.

  2. Jane Jacques February 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    There are a lot- or some whistleblowers- who work on a smaller scale, though this is still of major value. Their work is often unrecognised as the organisation will deny their concerns that there is anything wrong. I still have my letter from Roger Gibbins Chief Executive of NHS Highland saying my concerns were unfounded over the laboratory service at Wick The MHRA found critical deficiencies. Was I thanked? No, it was all made out to be lab staff fault, the wider governance of the lab was never looked into. Would I do it again? Yes. Patient safety comes first.

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) February 12, 2015 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Surely it is the responsibility of all employees in the NHS to draw attention to failings in the provision of proper care to patients. Employees who have been victimised should have recourse to free legal assistance and any persons found responsible for victimization should be prosecuted and removed from their posts forthwith.

    • Mike Sivier February 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      There might be an article in this because my understanding (from Twitter, last night) is that the NHS is an extremely hostile place for whistleblowers.

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