Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Facebook, Mauritius, IRS Whistleblowers, Odebrecht

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

08/09/2019

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Facebook loses facial recognition technology appeal, must face class action

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.

The 3-0 decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco exposes Facebook to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case.

It came as the social media company faces broad criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe. read more »

Five Companies That Went Thousands Of Miles To Use Mauritius

Here are five companies that illustrate the vast geographic reach of Mauritius as a tax haven.

auritius may be a tiny island 1,200 miles from the African continent, but its reach in the business world stretches far and wide. That much was made clear during our Mauritius Leaks investigation, published in collaboration with 54 journalists in 18 countries.

To unravel how and why companies might include Mauritius as part of their business structures, we spent hundreds of hours combing through details of offshore companies buried in more than 200,000 leaked files from the Mauritius office of the Bermuda-based offshore law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman. We published a spreadsheet to help make this rarely-disclosed information publicly available.

Several cases we found along the way stuck with us. Some showed the vast geographic reach of Mauritius as a tax haven. Others showed the diversity of businesses using the offshore world, ranging from humanitarian aid programs to online travel planning services. read more »

Recovering over a billion in unpaid taxes in 2018, IRS Whistleblower’s Office operates on a budget of just over $6 million

Despite tenfold increase in recoveries from prior year, IRS estimates over $400 billion remain missing.

In 2016, the Internal Revenue Service reported that unpaid taxes cost the federal government over $400 billion a year. According to documents recently released through FOIA, that same year, the IRS Whistleblower’s Office, which offers compensation to individuals who report on tax evasion, had a budget just over $6 million.

Despite the relatively small budget, the Whistleblower’s Office still manages to punch well above its weight class - last fiscal year, the office reported $1.4 billion in recovered taxes, with $312 million paid out. read more »

‘Moustache,’ ‘Little Pillow’ Among Odebrecht Code Names Revealed in New Testimony

In dramatic testimony, former executives of the disgraced multinational Odebrecht revealed to Peruvian prosecutors yesterday code names the company used to mask secret payments to high-ranking local officials.

The recipients of the payments included the former prime minister César Villanueva, the former mayor of the capital city of Lima, Susana Villarán, and the current vice-governor of the province of Callao, Constantino Galarza. read more »