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After Years Of Waiting, Teva Whistleblower Sues SEC To Speed Up Its Award Decision Making

waiting

“Justice delayed is justice denied’ and that maxim has equal force when an administrative agency, rather than a court, unreasonably delays the determination of federal rights.”

So begins this “Petition for a Writ of Mandamus Directed to the SEC To Compel Agency Action That Has Been Unreasonably Delayed” filed earlier this week in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by a whistleblower in connection with the $519 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement against Teva Pharmaceutical in late 2016. (see here for the prior post).

In summary fashion, the filing states:

“The SEC has denied Petitioner justice by unreasonably delaying a preliminary determination on Petitioner’s claim for an award under the SEC’s whistleblower program.

Petitioner submitted a detailed, 42-page tip regarding Teva’s violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act on May 9, 2011, shortly after the program incepted and almost eight years ago. SEC and Department of Justice officials then followed up with Petitioner and his attorneys 31 times, and Petitioner submitted four formal written supplements to provide additional information that the government requested.

The SEC and DOJ prosecuted successful enforcement actions regarding the very conduct Petitioner reported to recover $519 million from Teva, and the SEC published a notice of this recovery on January 31, 2017. Petitioner submitted a timely claim for an award … on April 27, 2017, two years ago. Petitioner has heard nothing since other than a boilerplate letter acknowledging that the SEC received his claim.”

In support of his claim, Petitioner argues that the SEC’s delay is not due to any complex issues, but only determining “straightforward legal standard” to facts and evidence that the SEC already possesses.

Christopher Connors and Andy Rickman (the attorneys who filed the whistleblower’s tip with the SEC in 2011) told FCPA Professor that their client has grown frustrated with the process. Connors and Rickman stated:

 “Our client feels stuck in bureaucratic quicksand. He applied for an award over two years ago and the only communication that he has had with the SEC is a one-page letter acknowledging his claim. It shouldn’t take years for the SEC to figure out how our client contributed to the Teva case. This doesn’t involve a complex mystery that requires gumshoes and bloodhounds to solve; it’s a simple question about how our client contributed to the case. Our client was very prompt in responding to the SEC’s many questions back in 2011 and only thinks it would be fair for the SEC to act with a similar level of timeliness.”

William Copley and August Matteis (the attorneys who filed this week’s petition and both with Weisbrod Matteis & Copley PLLC) told FCPA Professor:

“My client should not have to file a lawsuit to get a government agency to do its job. Congress promised that if my client took the risk to come forward as a whistleblower, my client would be rewarded. My client took that risk and gave the SEC information that allowed the agency to stop global bribery schemes and recover hundreds of millions of dollars. It has been more than two years, and the SEC will not even say whether it intends to make good on Congress’s promise. The SEC’s delay and indifference towards my client’s rights are indefensible, and we are confident that the court will agree.”

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