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?
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