Spain whistleblower law permits all citizens of Spain 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.

Current Status of Spain’s Whistleblower Laws

What disclosures are currently protected?

Spain has no overarching whistleblower law. 

Spain introduced its first piece of legislation with provisions specifically for whistleblowers in 2018 in the Spanish Data Protection Act (Organic Law 3/2018). However, this law merely states that companies and public administrators may have reporting systems in place for whistleblowers. If they do, this law restricts which officials may have access to whistleblower reports and information; only persons who carry out internal control and compliance functions and designated persons may access a whistleblower’s data. 

Witnesses in criminal proceedings may also receive some limited protections under Spanish criminal law.

However, there is no right to anonymously and confidentially report to regulators or other public officials, little to no protections against retaliation, and no set reward programs for successful whistleblowers. Therefore, Spanish whistleblowers are currently better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Can whistleblowers in Spain receive rewards?

There is no law in Spain explicitly providing whistleblowers rewards, however, they may receive rewards through U.S. laws.

Recent updates or future legislative developments

Spain is currently in the process of transposing the EU Whistleblower Directive. Given public disagreements as to the contents of this law, and the fact that corruption is a large problem in Spain, whistleblowers and advocates are not optimistic about the new legislation.

Can/should Spanish whistleblowers report to U.S. officials?

No law in Spain currently prohibits Spanish 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, Spanish whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws.

Introduction for Whistleblowers in Spain Using U.S. Laws

An overview of the whistleblower protections in the United States

The United States has over 50 separate whistleblower laws, and they each define a protected disclosure separately. 

The most comprehensive and widely used U.S. laws offering whistleblowers significant protections are the False Claims Act, the Dodd Frank Act, the Commodities Exchange Act