Whistleblowers: A Suffering Achetype

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Whistleblowers uncover complicated agendas and questionable practices that challenge the status quo of politics, private business, and multi-national enterprises. Issues that are most likely conducted behind closed doors and dark corners are now strewn upon the tapestry of the American psyche to be poked, prodded, and investigated under an intense microscope. Whistleblowers are a suffering American archetype. They stand alone, speaking truth to power. Some are well-known, the others should be.

Frank Serpico

Frank Serpico is a former New York City Police detective who blew the whistle on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During this time, Serpico witnessed credible evidence of widespread, systematic police corruption within the NYPD. His reports to supervisors were primarily ignored until he contributed to a New York Times story published on April 25th, 1970 detailing the NYPD corruption ring, bringing national attention to the issue. Serpico was the first police officer in the history of the NYPD to speak out against the NYPD’s systemic corruption and associated payoffs that amounted to millions of dollars. Serpico openly testified before a select congressional committee formed to investigate his claims. In his testimony.

Victor Carlström 

Victor Carlström was a finance marvel from Sweden who could speed-dial top executives at some of the world’s leading banks and financial institutions. The success Carlström achieved by the early age of 28 afforded him a lavish lifestyle complete with yachts and private jets to travel the world. At the apex of his career, Carlström was offered a partnership deal with Folksam – the most prominent financial company in Sweden. His success at Folksam was short-lived as he exposed a widespread system of corruption and fraud that would change his life forever. As Carlström investigated suspicious activities, he never dreamed that the executives he would report his concerns were the ones pulling strings from behind a veil of corruption, fraud, and money laundering. After reporting his concerns to Jens Henrikkson, CEO of Swedbank, Carlström was blacklisted and terminated. In the following months, Henrikkson set out to destroy Carlström by severing the relationship, stealing his clients, launching a smear campaign, and refusing to pay $12 million in fully earned commissions.

Fearing for his life after several assassination attempts, Carlström fled to the United States to seek protective asylum and turned to the legal system to help in fighting corruption. His lawsuit, filed in New York City, includes allegations of RICO Act crimes against the Swedish Tax Agency, Financial Supervisory Authority, the Swedish Tax Agency’s Director-General Katrin Westling Palm, Financial Supervisory Authority’s Director General Erik Thedéen and other officials. The 74-page lawsuit can be found here.

Peter Rost

Peter Rost is no stranger to exposing truths within the pharmaceutical industry. A former vice president at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Rost blew the whistle to his supervisors about accounting and other irregularities that he uncovered. After reporting, he was immediately demoted and transferred from his home country of Sweden to a position in the United States, a change that was deemed retaliatory. He sued Wyeth, and the case was settled out of court on undisclosed terms.

He then moved to a position with Pharmacia, which was purchased by Pfizer. He reported concerns about the off-market labeling of Genotropin – a human-made copy of natural growth hormone used to treat children with growth disorders. Following the Pfizer purchase of Pharmacia, Rost reported his concerns to Pfizer and later filed a False Claims suit against the company. Although a highly paid executive at Pfizer, Rost took public positions against Pfizer and became an outspoken advocate of drug reimportation. Pfizer internally exiled Rost and removed stripped him of all responsibilities and decision making. Rost, once again, found this move as retaliatory due to his whistleblowing

In 2004, he testified in Congress as a private individual in favor of drug reimportation, a position that was sharply at odds with the official policy of Pfizer and the pharmaceutical industry. In December 2005, he was fired from Pfizer.