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Opinion
Paul J. Davies

Is Whistle-Blowing Really Worth $200 Million?

It’s important that incentives be preserved, but an enormous recent award might mean it’s time to recalculate the math behind it all.

Easy money?

Easy money?

Source: Keystone/Hulton Archive

Good incentives for blowing the whistle on bad behavior are great. But $200 million is a hell of a big prize.

That’s the amount awarded to a single source of critical information that led to nearly $2.5 billion in fines for Deutsche Bank AG in 2015 for manipulating the discredited and soon-to-be-defunct Libor interest rate, according to reports. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the award last week. It is a record payment to a whistle-blower.