The Securities and Exchange Commission has paid out the second largest settlement in U.S. history to a former Monsanto executive who blew the whistle on the biotech giant's shady business dealings involving Roundup, a widely used herbicide containing glyphosate which was labeled a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization last spring.
The whistleblower's identity is being kept secret, according to reports, presumably to protect the individual from the potential backlash of powerful industry groups.
The former Monsanto executive, who exposed "accounting improprieties" involving Roundup, has been awarded more than $22 million, according to CNBC.
"The award of $22,437,800 was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, according to the lawyer, Stuart Meissner in New York, in a statement."
Federal government accuses Monsanto of fudging sales numbers for weed killer
The SEC has accused Monsanto of lying about its earnings for Roundup. The allegations specifically involve a corporate rebate program designed to increase sales of the product.
The agency said that the seed giant "lacked sufficient internal controls to account for millions of dollars in rebates that it offered to retailers and distributors. It ultimately booked a sizeable amount of revenue, but then failed to recognize the costs of the rebate programs on its books."
Monsanto reportedly "materially" distorted its consolidated earnings over a three-year period. The company is said to have "neither admitted nor denied" the allegations, while stating in the fiscal year 2015 that it was fully prepared to pay the resulting penalties.
"Company employees are in unique positions behind-the-scenes to unravel complex or deeply buried wrongdoing. Without this whistleblower's courage, information, and assistance, it would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to discover this securities fraud on its own," said Jane Norberg, acting chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower.