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Whistle-blower or revealer of trade secrets?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A former attorney for the Vanguard Group in Malvern is suing the investment firm, claiming he was fired for refusing to go along with an illegal tax scheme. The man claims Vanguard bypassed taxing authority approval of a plan to charge unusually low management fees on mutual funds sales in an effort to illegally lower its tax liability.

The attorney maintains federal whistle-blower laws cover his actions; Vanguard says it fired him for stealing company documents.

He did share documents with both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS. Vanguard has asked a judge to seal the documents because they represent trade secrets and confidential information.

The attorney alleges Vanguard’s practices cost the government about $1 billion. If he wins his lawsuit, he would collect millions in fees.

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