Protect has welcomed the decision by professional services firm EY to drop its appeal in the case brought against the firm by whistleblower and former EY partner, Amjad Rihan.
The case concerned allegations that EY had covered up the adverse findings of a sustainability audit into the Dubai Gold trade, including evidence of money laundering and conflict minerals, causing the partner in charge of the audit, Mr Rihan, to resign. Mr Rihan, who tried to raise the alarm about the misconduct, was forced out of his job and had to flee Dubai in fear for his safety.
Leigh Day solicitor Paul Dowling, representing Mr Rihan, says the case sends a clear message to multinational companies that corrupt practices will not be tolerated, irrespective of where in the world such companies operate. Would-be whistleblowers should also find comfort in knowing that they will receive the protection of the law if they refuse to participate in unethical conduct overseas.
Mr Rihan will receive $10.8m (subject to adjustment for tax) in damages. The Court found that EY failed to perform the audit in an ethical and professional manner and breached its duty to Mr Rihan.
Protect Legal Director, Sybille Raphael said: “This is a high award, but it recognises the career-long losses that Mr Rihan suffered when he courageously blew the whistle on corruption. Employers should note the court’s willingness to consider a wide duty to protect whistleblowers and the need to conduct themselves with the highest ethical standards.”
She added, “A healthy speak up culture and appropriate processes to investigate whistleblowers’ concerns are vital to stop wrongdoing that can cost very dearly.”