Danske Bank money laundering case strengthens calls for tougher EU whistleblowers legislation
The Danske Bank whistleblower, Howard Wilkinson, who revealed suspected money laundering at the Danish bank, has been invited to speak at the European Parliament’s special Committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Legal representatives for Wilkinson, who is currently believed to be in hiding, have expressed concerns regarding the safety of their client. Wilkinson’s identity as the Danske Bank whistleblower was first revealed by an Estonian newspaper, which claims that employees at the bank leaked his name. It has been reported that the whistleblower’s lawyers, ‘are extremely concerned that Danske Bank, which knew the whistleblower’s identity has violated his human rights,’ which are protected under law.
Commenting on the news regarding the Danske Bank case, Eurocadres President Martin Jefflén says: ‘This case clearly pinpoints one of several shortcomings of the European Commission’s whistleblowers protection directive proposal.
This case clearly pinpoints one of several shortcomings of the European Commission’s whistleblowers protection directive proposal.
Howard Wilkinson reported anonymously but his identity was later revealed. This is exactly one of the key issues now being debated concerning the directive proposal. Anonymous whistleblowing is not covered in the Commission’s proposal but fortunately amendments have been proposed, which would bring about, such a change’.
Eurocadres believes that the directive proposal has other shortcomings, including a mandatory requirement to report internally before going to authorities. It also has no mention of the right to consult with or to be represented by a trade union. The directive text also lacks a clear rule that does not allow the directive to be used to lower protection, a so-called non-regression clause.
'Anonymous whistleblowing is not covered in the Commission’s proposal but fortunately amendments have been proposed, which would bring about, such a change’.
Jefflén goes on to say, ‘Eurocadres represents professionals and managers. We argue that, employees who are in positions of power, such as Howard Wilkinson, who was formerly head of Danske Bank’s trading business in the Baltics, are likely to be the ones who come across information which needs to be reported or disclosed in the public interest. Those who are in positions of responsibility, need to be fully protected by the directive’.