just got word from the Securities and Exchange Commission that I am to receive half of a $16.5m whistleblower award. But I refuse to take my share. My award, which comes from a fund allocated by Congress, amounts to 15 per cent of the $55m fine the SEC imposed on Deutsche Bank in May 2015 after I informed regulators that my colleagues at the bank had been inflating the value of its massive portfolio of credit derivatives. I was a risk officer at the bank, and one of the three whistleblowers who in 2010-11 reported the improper accounting internally and to regulators around the globe. The SEC attorney who oversaw the investigation told the New York Times: “It’s the only enforcement action where we allege that a major financial institution failed to properly value a significant portion of its portfolio of complex securities.” But Deutsche did not commit this wrongdoing. Deutsche was the victim. To be precise, the bank’s shareholders and its rank-and-file employees who are now losing their jobs in droves are the primary victims. Meanwhile, top executives retired with multimillion-dollar bonuses based on the misrepresentation of the bank’s balance sheet. It is therefore especially disappointing that in 2015, after a lengthy investigation helped by multiple whistleblowers, the SEC imposed a fine on Deutsche’s shareholders instead of the managers responsible.
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