Some say it is hypocrisy, others say inconsistency and double standards on the part of the United States government.
In February 2016, the United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the country’s agribusiness giant, Monsanto has agreed to pay $80 million penalty and retain an independent compliance consultant to settle charges. The SEC is an agency of the United States federal government. It holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules, and regulating the securities’ industry – the country’s stock and options exchanges, among other functions.
Monsanto admitted to violating accounting rules; it misstated company earnings pertaining to its flagship herbicide product, Roundup.
Reports suggest a former employee of the company had alerted the SEC investigators about Monsanto’s fraudulent conduct. Upon conducting their own investigations, the SEC discovered a Monsanto that has insufficient internal accounting controls; unable to properly account for millions of dollars in rebates – offered to retailers and distributors – of its herbicide Roundup, after generic competition had undercut Monsanto’s prices and resulted in a significant loss of market share.
Monsanto reportedly paid the $80 million penalty to the SEC in late August, 2016. As part of the rules of the game, the SEC is supposed to settle the whistleblower with 30% of the money collected from Monsanto.
The SEC Office of the Whistleblower Program was created by Congress in 2011, to provide monetary incentives for individuals to come forward and report possible violations of the federal securities laws to the SEC. Under the program, whistleblowers are encouraged to report financial mishandlings of over $1 million. For their services, whistleblowers receive an award of up to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected by the government.
The SEC officials have now announced officially an award of $22,437,800 to the whistleblower who leaked the fraud of Monsanto.
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