On October 21, 2021, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the award of nearly $200 million to a whistleblower whose information led the CFTC to direct and significant evidence of misconduct. According to the whistleblower award determination, the whistleblower’s award application, based on enforcement actions by two US federal regulators, one state and one foreign regulator, was initially denied. However, following the whistleblower’s request for reconsideration and submission of additional information, along with the receipt of supplemental information from a federal regulator, the award application was granted with respect to the federal and foreign enforcement actions, and denied with respect to the state action. In its analysis, the CFTC provided clarity on the definition of the phrase “significantly contribute” within the meaning of the whistleblower rules, concluding that a whistleblower can significantly contribute to the success of an action by providing information that leads to direct evidence of violations.
In determining the award percentage, the CFTC took into account the significance of the information provided by the whistleblower, the assistance he or she provided, the law enforcement interests at issue, the indirect nature of the evidence provided, the delay in reporting the misconduct to regulators, and the fact that the whistleblower’s evidence related only to some of the misconduct targeted in the covered enforcement action.
The CFTC’s whistleblower program was established in 2010 pursuant to Section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The first award was issued in 2014, and since then over $300 million have been granted to whistleblowers.