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How to Stand-Up for Your Values No Matter the Consequences

Making the right choice is never easy, but always clear

I am writing this from an undisclosed location within the United States awaiting a pending asylum application. I have bodyguards protecting my every movement. My life on the run consists of moving from hotel to hotel and looking over my shoulder every minute of the day. I have lost my wife and children, my friends, my finances, my lifestyle, and my livelihood. Why? Because I made the very difficult decision to fight back and expose systemic corruption and a wide-spread, white-collar criminal enterprise. For everything I know, everything I’ve witnessed, and everything I can prove, I live in constant danger. Life as I knew it is gone and it will never be the same.

Some people firmly believe that standing up and taking action against injustice and wrongdoing is the right thing to do no matter the circumstance. Some people believe that putting their lives – and the lives of those around them – in jeopardy (sometimes dire) may not be worth the hit to sound the alarm against an action they feel is ultimately wrong. For me, the choice was painful but clear. It wasn’t something I sought. It came knocking on my door.

Some may call me a hero or whistleblower. Some call me a traitor or a snitch. I am none of those things.  I am one man and the single plaintiff in a $4.2B RICO lawsuit against two of the biggest financial companies in Europe and expose the high-level Swedish authorities that enable and protect them. The only path I travel today is one of redemption, and exposing the truth. This fight has cost me everything and more, but it is the cross I bear for what is right, what is fair, and I will fight this fight to the end.

See something, say something has become well-known nomenclature in today’s society. It has launched many important movements, ushered in radical changes, and put high-profile people in prison. However, in most cases – especially at the level of my fight against an entire country’s private and governmental financial system wrought with corruption and injustice – a heavy price is paid. If I win my fight, I will not be around to see the long-term effect. I will not be able to reap the benefits of my sacrifice, but my children will. And their children will along with every single relevant financial system, institution and citizen that is served by the global economic engine.

Is what I’m doing moral? Is putting the global economy at risk of recession to expose a deeply corrupt system of felonious white-collar crime that benefits many of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people? Absolutely! Why? Because I grew up poor. I grew up in a broken home living out on the streets where I learned to fight, learned to survive, and learned the value of honest hard work. By the time I was 26 years of age, I was the biggest financial agent in Northern Europe with all six required financial licenses to do whatever I wanted in the industry. I was a prodigy making billions of dollars for banks, financial institutions, and very wealthy private customers. I never defrauded my clients and I am in this position today because high-level financial executives asked me to join them in their criminal game. I’ve made many mistakes in my life and I am no angel, but that was a line in the sand for me – a line I would not cross.

Though I live life in hiding, I am not alone. There are many like me who’ve similarly sacrificed it all. Edward Snowden and Julien Assange are two examples. There is a silver-lining cutting through the darkness. Like me, the US government and corporate America are in a fight against fraud and has enlisted a battalion of citizen whistleblowers for combat. New protection laws and the strengthening of previous protection laws are making it increasingly difficult to launch retaliation efforts against whistleblowers. Bounty programs are growing in force as well and provide financial incentives for whistleblowers who expose corporate tax cheats and shareholder exploitations.

For those of you considering stepping up and speaking out, know you are not alone in your fight, though it may seem that way most of the time. There are human and civil rights groups along with various protection agencies offering legal and advocacy resources if you decide, or are forced, to step into the role of whistleblower.

If you see something, should you say something? Yes, but be wise, plan ahead, and be honest. Whistleblowing is incredibly important and is vital to a healthy economic ecosystem of companies, corporations, businesses, and societies around the world. It stimulates constructive relationships among employees, customers, shareholders, and executives. It keeps the playing field in balance and promotes transparency, compliance, and fair treatment. If you decide to take that important step into the world of whistleblowing, make sure you do so in good faith based on what you perceive as honest and do so without malevolence or duplicity. There is a difference between reporting against a systemic, corrupt practice affecting everyone and reporting falsely out of personal vindictiveness.

Whistleblowers come in all shapes and sizes and are usually in positions with access to inside knowledge (money laundering for example). These people play vital roles in exposing and fighting such crimes. Their insights are valuable and those who will be affected by a whistleblower have everything to gain by silencing them.

Know that I speak from experience. For me, exposing the heavy corruption, racketeering, money laundering, and other felonious white-collar crimes by two of Sweden’s largest financial companies, along with a complicit government, was not only important, but it was also vital. As I fight to survive, as I continue to believe in what is right, I trust my stance will be victorious.

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