Estonia law permits all Estonian citizens to report frauds against the U.S. Government under the False Claims Act, or violations of the provisions of the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act.
What disclosures are currently protected?
No law in Estonia comprehensively guarantees the protection of whistleblowers but the following laws do have provisions relevant to whistleblowers: the Anti-Corruption Act 2012 (ACA); the Penal Code; and the Witness Protection Act.
The ACA allows public servants and other relevant persons to report public corruption confidentially (if their allegations are in good faith) and prohibits retaliation against such whistleblowers.
The Penal Code in fact penalizes the non-disclosure of first degree criminal offences.
Lastly, the Witness Protection Act can provide witnesses with certain protections before, during, and after court proceedings and penalizes unlawful interference with/the endangerment of witnesses. However, there is wide discretion in deciding to offer witnesses the protections available under this act.
Clearly, these laws are not comprehensive enough to cover many whistleblowers in the private sector, nor do they reach many potential regulatory violations. Moreover, there are no reward provisions for successful whistleblowers and there is no centralized authority charged with receiving whistleblower complaints. Therefore, whistleblowers in Estonia may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators where possible, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.
Can Estonian whistleblowers receive rewards?
There is no law in Estonia providing whistleblowers rewards, however, they may receive rewards through U.S. laws.
Recent updates and future legislative developments
Estonia is currently in the process of transposing the EU Whistleblower Directive and just closed its public comment period for the new law that will be enacted. Although an official draft does not appear to have been released, Transparency International Estonia has issued an opinion on what has been publicly released by the government.
Can/should Estonian whistleblowers report to U.S. officials?
No law in Estonia currently prohibits Estonian citizens from reporting frauds against the U.S. government under the False Claims Act, or violations of provisions of other statutes including the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act. Therefore, Estonian whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws.