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Opelika-Auburn News: Whistleblower Tour Bringing Eric Ben-Artzi to Campus to Speak on Deutsche Bank

January 23, 2014
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A former executive whose revelations touched off a major fraud investigation of one of the world's largest banks will speak at Auburn University on Monday as part of a program on whistleblowers in government and business.

Eric Ben-Artzi, the quantative risk analyst who reported possible securities violations at Deutsche Bank in 2011 leading to a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, will speak at 7 p.m. in Lowder Hall Room 113-A. His visit is sponsored by the Government Accountability Project's Whistleblower Tour and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. There is no charge for the public event.

Ben-Artzi determined that Deutsche Bank had failed to accurately report the value of its credit derivatives portfolio. Troubled by the bank's unwillingness to acknowledge and appropriately address the problem, Ben-Artzi sought legal representation and reported the possible securities violations to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission through the SEC Whistleblower Program. In November 2011, three days after filing the SEC complaint, Ben-Artzi was fired. As a result, he has filed a wrongful dismissal suit against the bank.

Ben-Artzi's story led to a series of front-page investigative pieces by Financial Times. Reports showed that the bank hid up to $12 billion in losses and that German regulators were briefed years ago about the problematic fraudulent activities but did nothing while the SEC investigated.

Ben-Artzi’s visit is sponsored by the Government Accountability Project's, or GAP's, Whistleblower Tour and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business School of Accountancy.

The GAP Tour is a campaign to educate the public – particularly university students – about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing. This event will feature a moderated discussion. A full description of the Tour can be found at www.WhistleblowerTour.org.

“The Whistleblower Tour has become an event that faculty and students equally look forward to attending,” said Sarah Stanwick, an associate professor in the School of Accountancy. “Hearing from individuals who display integrity allows our students to realize that making the decision to stand up for what is right is the only way to ensure their beliefs match their actions.”

Ben-Artzi’s visit will mark the tour’s third stop at Harbert College. In 2012, GAP brought whistleblowers Sherron Watkins (Enron scandal) and Kenneth Kendrick (peanut butter/salmonella scandal) to Auburn. Last January, Bernie Madoff whistleblower Frank Casey and Jon Oberg of the federal student loan scandal, visited.

“We are excited to bring our Whistleblower Tour to Auburn University for the third year in a row,” said Dana Gold, Whistleblower Tour director and event moderator. “The student and faculty feedback continues to amaze us, showing that the Auburn community truly recognizes the importance of society’s truth-tellers and the ethical responsibilities of its future graduates.”

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