An individual claiming to be the whistleblower responsible for the leak of the Panama Papers has filed a breach of contract suit in U.S. court against the country of Germany, alleging that the country did not follow through with the proper compensation for providing the country with copies of the documents.
The whistleblower filed the suit anonymously on June 20 and argued they should not have to provide the court with any identifying information given the extraordinary danger they may face. On July 3, Judge James Boasberg ruled against the motion to not provide the court with identifying information stating that “the Court routinely requires that even pseudonymous filers facing grave and specific threats to their safety le their identifying information under seal.”
“The ability to file a lawsuit without revealing the identity of the whistleblower is extremely important,” leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto told TaxNotes. “The German government will be able to challenge the factual basis for proceeding under a pseudonym. If they cannot challenge the whistleblower’s factual basis for proceeding anonymously, it is extremely important that the whistleblower be permitted to proceed anonymously.”
As long as countries like Germany and other advanced democracies fail to implement effective whistleblower laws, tax evasion and money laundering will be very difficult to prove,” Kohn added. “However, foreign nationals can use the U.S. whistleblower laws to obtain rewards and protection. We strongly recommend that whistleblowers with information about money laundering and tax fraud consider using the U.S. whistleblower laws, including the newly enacted Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Securities Exchange Act, and the IRS tax whistleblower law.”
For the Panama Papers’ five-year anniversary, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) released a statement celebrating the whistleblower. “As we note the anniversary of the Panama Papers, it’s important to remember and celebrate the whistleblower who made them possible,” NWC stated.
In 2022, the anonymous whistleblower gave their first ever interview: an in-depth conversation with the German news outlet Der Spiegel.