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Last week’s outsized bounty award of $104 million to former UBS AG banker-turned-whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld has commentators lighting up the Twitterverse with outrage and the Wall Street Journal calling Birkenfeld’s tale one of “sordidness piled on sordidness.” Seems his 2007 testimony regarding thousands of U.S. tax dodgers netted the Internal Revenue Service a $780 million fine and the names of 5,000 potential tax cheats from the Swiss banking giant—not to mention potential recovery of over $5 billion in unpaid taxes. This has resulted in what one of Birkenfeld’s lawyers has called “the largest whistleblower reward issued to a single individual.” What has got so many folks’ knickers in a wad is not just the record-setting, eye-popping monetary reward, but the fact that Birkenfeld himself had a spectacular role in the scheme, at one point famously smuggling diamonds for a client in a tube of toothpaste. And what’s more, he lied to the IRS and served 30 months in jail before collecting his reward. Judging by much of the commentary, this is being seen by many as whistleblower protection gone horribly awry and the end of civilization as we know it. As a former chief compliance officer who has been in the trenches for 20-plus years, I’d like to offer an alternative view, starting with some undeniable truths about whistleblowers (and, by the way, we need another term for individuals who report misconduct, but I digress.) To all the outraged commentators, please have a glass of Pinot and unwad your knickers. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

OK, on to the undeniable truths about corporate whistleblowers:

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