Anti-fraud organizations across Europe demand protection for whistleblowers of corruption

València, July 6, 2020.- 21 organizations fighting against fraud and corruption from 15 European countries met last week virtually and adopted the Declaration of Rome, so called since the meeting was scheduled to be held there European city before the COVID-19 crisis.

With the Declaration of Rome, these organizations request from the different European governments, among other issues, a legal status for the protection of persons who report corruption.

The starting point of the Declaration is the application of the European Directive 2019/1937 for the protection of persons who report corruption, known as the “Whistleblower” Directive, which is currently pending transposition into the Spanish legal system.

The Rome Declaration includes a series of recommendations in the form of a decalogue addressed to the governments and public administrations involved in the implementation of the Directive.

Among the proposed proposals are the creation of a culture that encourages reporting, having protocols to handle reports, guaranteeing the confidentiality of reporting persons, or providing anti-corruption agencies and authorities with sanctioning capacity.

The director of the AVAF, Joan Llinares, has declared that “we are going to send this Declaration of Rome to the Minister of Justice as well as to the members of the parliamentary commission in charge of carrying out the transposition of the Europe Directive so that they have knowledge of it ”.

“We also want to show our willingness to collaborate in the working group that will carry out this transposition since from the AVAF we can contribute our experience by being at the moment the only Spanish authority that has a Statute of Protection of the Complainant of Corruption . At the moment 20 people receive protection from the AVAF ”, added Llinares.

The organizations that signed the Rome Declaration are constituted in the Network of European Integrity Authorities and Alerters (NEIWA Network) which aims to share knowledge and experiences in the fight against fraud and corruption. On the part of Spain, the Catalan Anti-Fraud Office and the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF) participate in the NEIWA Network.

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Rome Declaration. Network of European Integrity Authorities and Alerters (NEIWA Network)

14 anti-fraud and corruption organizations meet for the second time in the Participation Council of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF)

València, July 1, 2020.- The second meeting of the Participation Council of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF) was held, which was established in October 2019. 14 civic and social organizations that work against the fraud and corruption and have among their purposes the transparency of public activity, good governance and the defense of the rights of citizens in the area of ​​the Valencian Community.

Among the topics covered on the agenda was the presentation of the AVAF Activity Report for the year 2019, which includes the performance of each of the Agency’s areas in relation to research, prevention and training, legal department in relation to the advice and protection of whistleblowers and institutional relations. One of the points that has aroused the greatest interest has been the data provided on the complaints filed in terms of their number, gender perspective or subject matter, among others.

This second meeting of the Participation Council takes place once the work of the two groups that were formed after the first meeting has been concluded. One of the groups is focused on training in public ethics and integrity as a tool for the prevention of fraud and corruption; while the second group focuses on the protection of those who report corruption.

Both groups have presented before the Plenary of the Consell the work carried out during these months as well as the conclusions and proposals they have reached, among which is the elaboration of a Decalogue for the Protection of Complainants and Alerters or expanding the actions of training to the school environment.

Another issue that has been discussed is the situation in which the transposition into the legal system of the European Directive 2019/1937, on the Protection of Persons Whistleblower of Corruption, better known as the “Whistleblower Directive”.

The meeting was held virtually and the following associations and entities participated:

  • Fundación por la Justicia
  • Tactical Whistleblowers
  • COSITAL València
  • Observatori Ciutadà contra la Corrupció (OCC)
  • Transparencia Internacional España
  • Asociación Valenciana de Consumidores y Usuarios (AVACU)
  • Asoc. Española Sujetos Obligados en Prevención del Blanqueo (ASEBLAC)
  • Fundación Internacional Baltasar Garzón (FIBGAR)
  • Alertadores contra la Corrupción, Whistle Blower
  • Senior Program Officer de Open Society Initative for Europe (OSIFE)
  • Acción Cívica contra la Corrupción
  • Plataforma por la Honestidad (PlxH)
  • Plataforma Ciutadana Castelló per la Justícia i Contra la Corrupció
  • Sindicato de Técnicos del Ministerio de Hacienda (GESTHA).
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The Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency requests the R.A.E. the inclusion of the word “retaliator” in the dictionary

València, June 25, 2020.- Last Tuesday, June 23, the World Alerting People Day – Whistleblowers was celebrated, which aims to recognize the role of all those who report cases of fraud and corruption.

Coinciding with the celebration of that day, the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF) has begun the procedures to propose to the Royal Spanish Academy of the Language the inclusion in the dictionary of the word “retaliatory”, which does not exist at this time.

The dictionary includes the term “retaliation”, used more in the plural, and the complete conjugation of the verb “retaliate”, meaning “punish, retaliate”, but not the word “retaliatory”.

If “retaliated”, which is also found in the dictionary, is the participle of “retaliate”, and therefore the person who receives a response of “punishment or revenge as a result of an attack or offense”, “retaliatory” is that person that performs such action.

The AVAF has among its functions the protection of people who alert, denounce or report acts of fraud or corruption, and finds in the actions it directs to this end that they endure constant acts of intimidation, pressure or punishment in their daily lives such as consequence of the complaint, the alert or the information provided to clarify the facts of an investigation or to prevent corruption.

Whistleblowers or whistleblowers are a key piece in the fight against corruption. However, doing so implies situations of workplace harassment, harassment, financial repercussions, unfair disciplinary proceedings, accusations for crimes not committed and even dismissal.

Said acts of punishment or revenge, retaliation, are carried out by the people to whom the complaint or the information refers, or by people from this environment. They are the retaliators.

In accordance with Law 11/2016, of November 28, of the Generalitat, creating the Agency for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption of the Valencian Community (AVAF), retaliators are punished. Now also in accordance with the European Directive 2019/1937 for the protection of whistleblowers or whistleblowers.

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