Foreign whistleblowing: the impact of US extraterritorial enforcement on anti-corruption laws in Europe

Elina Karpacheva, Branislav Hock

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Purpose - Foreign whistle-blowers are foreign citizens that help national enforcement authorities to sanction both foreign-based corporations and home-based corporations that engage in economic crime. This paper investigates the expansion of US law in the area of transnational economic crime by discussing the case of foreign whistle-blowers.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper has developed from a literature review carried out as part of a wider study into policing international bribery.

Findings - The paper shows that extraterritorial application of US whistleblowing laws is part of a broad trend associated with extraterritorial enforcement of US anti-corruption statutes such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The extraterritorial reach of the FCPA and other statutes allowed the US to become the leader in sanctioning US corporations as well as non-US corporations for economic crime. In effect, some US enforcement practices have become the
standard that has influenced law and law enforcement in other countries as well as internal compliance of corporations.

Originality - Despite the profound impact of foreign whistleblowing has on the effectiveness of national anti-corruption enforcement, this topic has been largely neglected by academic research. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first to provide an overview of the role of foreign whistle-blowers and the significant impact foreign whistleblowing has for legal reform in European countries and internal compliance of corporations in Europe and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Crime
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Jan 2023


  • whistleblowing
  • bribery
  • corruption
  • extraterritoriality
  • enforcement
  • policing

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